On July 27, 2015, Giovanni Buttarelli, the European Data Protection Supervisor (“EDPS”), published Opinion 3/2015 on the reform of Europe’s data protection laws, intended to “assist the participants in the trilogue in reaching the right consensus on time.” The Opinion sets out the EDPS’ vision for the regulation of data protection, re-stating the case for a framework that strengthens the rights of individuals and noting that “the time is now to safeguard individuals’ fundamental rights and freedoms in the data-driven society of the future.”

In addition, the Opinion contains a four-column version of the text of the proposed EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), comparing on an article-by-article basis the proposals of the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the EDPS’ detailed recommendations. At the same time, the EDPS launched a free app for mobile devices, allowing users to easily compare the respective texts. These can be downloaded in any given combination to allow users to compare them side-by-side on smartphones and tablets.

In offering its recommendations on the GDPR, the EDPS’ views are drawn from across the three texts, but for the most part steering a course that lies between that of the European Parliament and the Council. In some respects, the EDPS favors practicality, but in other areas it adopts an approach that is focused on strengthening individual rights.

The trilogue began only recently, and an ambitious timetable has been set for the discussions. It remains to be seen whether the text of the GDPR will be agreed upon by the end of this calendar year, but the political pressure to reach agreement is growing. The EDPS has now added its voice to the debate, urging the EU to make the most of this historic opportunity for reform.