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The next steps?

January 2014

There remains much to do if progress is to be made on the draft Regulation. If the European Council can agree their position then trilogues will need to begin between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission to reconcile their various drafts. These are likely to result in a second formal draft of the Regulation.

Despite mounting pressure to agree and pass the legislation before the end of the current European Parliament, it has been widely reported that the delays in reaching an agreed Parliament position and the inability of the Council to reach agreement on core concepts of the draft Regulation means agreement of all parties by Spring 2014 is now most unlikely and that the deadline will be pushed back until after the Parliamentary elections. In addition NSA revelations have clearly hardened the Parliament's position and seem to have pushed them into making political rather than practical changes.

The indications are that the Council draft may give some concessions to data controllers. This could mean that negotiations with the Council take longer than originally expected if countries like the UK continue to hold out for a softening of the legislation.

Fountain penThe LIBE Committee and the Commission were aiming for a vote by a full sitting of the Assembly before next May. They were hoping to be voting on a negotiated compromise position which would signal the introduction of the law but if there is no agreement, the plenary vote may go ahead anyway with negotiations continuing in the next Parliament.

If the Parliament shifts considerably in make up in the next elections and the legislation has not been passed, there is a risk that the new Parliament will force the legislation back to the drawing board.

Whilst it is still remotely possible that the legislation may pass in 2014, significant compromises will have to be made in order to get it through by that date. If the legislation is delayed until 2015, then it could instead be introduced with a one year rather than a two year implementation period, so we could still see new rules coming into force during 2016.

In short, there is no clarity at the moment as to when or even whether the legislation will pass and at the very least, we expect a further draft before enactment.

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The next steps?
Debbie Heywood


Sally Annereau


Debbie and Sally consider what needs to happen next to progress the draft Regulation and the prospects for legislation.