On September 6, 2013, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Viviane Reding traveled to Berlin where she commented on the status of the negotiations on the proposed EU General Data Protection Regulation (the “Proposed Regulation”). Commissioner Reding indicated that she was looking for Germany to become involved in the discussions about the Proposed Regulation at the highest level, and she argued in favor of stricter regulations given recent revelations about surveillance programs such as PRISM. Because the vote on the Proposed Regulation only requires a majority to pass, she also emphasized that it would not be necessary to obtain the agreement of all of the EU Member States (for example, the UK or Ireland).
Sources involved in the negotiations have indicated to the Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton & Williams LLP that Commissioner Reding’s comments were not universally welcomed. Although it appears that a great deal of political effort is still being directed toward ensuring that the new data protection regime will take the form of a regulation, significant problems with this approach have been identified by various parties at the national level. The Centre expects that it will become clearer in the coming weeks whether the current approach will be modified.