The next European Commission revealed
Despite an initial deadline of 26 August, the final list of Commissioner-nominees was published by Commission President elect, Ursula von der Leyen, on 9 September. The UK decided not to appoint a Commissioner in light of the fact that the current UK Government’s intention is to leave the EU on 31 October. What would happen should the UK require a further delay to the Brexit process remains to be determined.
Civil liberties MEPs discuss Commission Guidance on free flow of non-personal data
On 12 September, the LIBE Committee heard a presentation by Mr Pierre Chastanet, Head of Cloud and Software Unit (DG CNECT), on the recent communication on Guidance on the Regulation on a framework for the free flow of non-personal data in EU.
The debate revolved around the common ground of personal and non-personal data. Whilst the Commission tried to ensure that the Guidance provides a clear explanation regarding the differentiation between the two concepts of data, personal and non-personal, and that two regulations, free flow of non-personal data and GDPR, do not contradict each other, MEPs expressed their concerns regarding data aggregation, as well as possible cases of misconduct, as Member States would require more time before becoming well-versed in the implementation of the legislation. The debate can be found here.
ECJ hears complaints against indiscriminate data retention
Between 9 - 10 September, the European Court of Justice heard complaints against indiscriminate data retention in four joined cases: France (C-511/18 and C512/18)), Belgium (C-520/18) and the UK (C-623/17).
The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) agreed with the Commission’s view that in all four cases the measures restricting the confidentiality of communications impose obligations on service providers either to transmit communications data to State authorities, to retain and provide access to data, or to perform certain processing operations with pre-defined parameters. The EDPS also agreed that the measures in each case fell within the scope of the e-Privacy Directive and must comply with the requirements set out in Article 15(1) of the Directive and in Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter on Fundamental Rights.
The EDPS states that it is the responsibility of the legislator to regulate data retention and access in a comprehensive manner and in particular to strengthen the safeguards for access of competent authorities to the retained data. Such safeguards should in particular include prior authorisation by a court or an independent authority, and meaningful ex post controls, including sanctions for non-compliance. The EDPS detailed pleading notes are available here.
Finnish Presidency puts forward sustainable growth report ahead of Competitiveness Council
On 16 September, the Finnish Presidency published a report on the Vision for a long-term strategy on sustainable growth, in preparation of a policy debate to be held during the Competitiveness Council on 26 – 27 September. The report identifies the key policy objectives for the next Commission’s agenda and lists measures to deliver on them. The objectives identified by the Finnish Presidency are: accomplishing a just transition to climate neutral industries, manufacturing and service sectors, strengthening an innovation-friendly Single Market, promoting innovation-led transitions with an ambitious policy mix, making the EU a global leader in the digital economy, enhancing the competitiveness and productivity of Europe by investing in education and skills and strengthening the external dimension of the EU’s competitiveness.
The Finnish Presidency report also stressed the importance of embracing the accelerating digital transformation of the economy and society, suggesting to adopt policies that promote a rapid deployment of digital technologies and solutions. It also advocates for a coherent digital policy, that would enable cross-border innovation, competitiveness and uptake of key technologies to allow EU business to grow and compete on the global stage.
Regarding data, the Finnish Presidency called on the Commission to continue putting in place mechanisms to encourage and incentivise sharing, joint use and pooling of data, whilst pursuing efforts to regain citizens’ trust in digital platforms and improve cybersecurity.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
25 September: Trust services forum – CA Day 2019, (ENISA/European Commission)
26 September: AIG Meeting - Strategy for AIG Directors' Lunch, EASA Offices
2 October: AIG Directors’ Lunch, Stanhope Hotel, Brussels
2 October: Protecting consumers’ freedom in the Digital Era, The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC)
9 October: Digital Transformation EXPO Europe (DTX Europe), London
15 October: Does digital management exist? Challenges for the next generation of TV, The Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)
25 November:High-Level Conference on Data Economy, Finnish Presidency