Conclusion of the EU Data Protection Reform

Plenary Speech by Jan Philipp Albrecht

Erstellt am 13.04.2016

European Parliament plenary debate on the conclusion of the data protection reform package

Strasbourg, 13 April 2016, 15:00

Opening speech of Jan Philipp Albrecht, rapporteur on the General Data Protection Regulation

(Watch the video here)

 

check against delivery

Dear President, Commissioner, Minister, honourable colleagues,

after more than four years of work as your rapporteur, I am happy to announce that there is a consensus of all democratic parties in this house and of Member States in the Council for the adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation. It is the result of intense negotiations in both legislators’ bodies and in the course of a trilogue on the basis of our first reading vote in March 2014 and the general approach of the Council from June 2015.

The agreement found in December under the Luxembourgish Presidency is an important signal as the finalization of this file until the end of 2015 was announced by Commission and Parliament presidents as well as the heads of states in the European Council several times. Its adoption by the LIBE committee and the Council of Ministers – both by almost unanimity – shows that we tackled the right balance between a high level of protection for the fundamental right to data protection as well as strong consumer rights in the Digital Age on the one side and the need to create a fair and functioning Digital Single Market with a real chance for growth and innovation on the other side.

Having said this I want to emphasize once again that I didn’t believe and will not believe that these two aspects are mutually exclusive. I am convinced that the respect for data protection is not only a pre-condition for trust and innovation in a digitalized economy – it will be an important key for the success of our European economies in the future. We Europeans do not only export a high protection of privacy and consumer rights online – we’ll also be able to set a gold standard for the digital market of tomorrow, when these standards will be essential for each and every new technology, product and service.

At the same time we are – for the first time in European history – regulating the application of a fundamental right for the whole European market by a directly applicable EU regulation. We’re deepening and harmonizing the already existing rights and standards from the 1995 Directive on Data Protection and creating a single legal standard for the protection of personal data, which is fit for the digitalized society of tomorrow. With new rights such as data portability and new principles like data protection by design we are further developing the protection of our privacy and self-determination in times of Big Data and the Internet of Things. Stronger consumer transparency and choice is building new opportunities for trustful, secure and consumer friendly products and services.

The newly built consistency mechanism in the future EU Data Protection Board and a strong sanction regime will assure that there will be equal opportunities, effective rights and legal certainty for everyone on our market, which – as the biggest common market in the world – nobody will be able to ignore.

This compromise, which we have found in an intense democratic debate and legislative process throughout the last years, is a huge step forward towards creating a single legal environment for the digital world of tomorrow and is our chance as Europeans to have a significant impact on it.

I want to – once again – thank the shadow rapporteurs, the rapporteur on the Police Directive, Marju Lauristin, and all the colleagues here in the Parliament, in the Commission and in the Council as well as all the people involved in this democratic process for their hard work, honest and open engagement and contribution to this result. I also thank our staff, the secretariats, translators and lawyer linguists who made it possible that we can have the final adoption already this week.

Everybody out there is waiting for us to formally finalize and present the long expected EU General Data Protection Regulation. And data controllers, their consultants, Member States’ governments and the Data Protection authorities are eager to do what from now on will be the most important: To get this single Data Protection Law of the European Union into practice as soon as possible.

Thank you.

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