EU justice ministers agreed to seek better data protection

19 July 2013, Last updated at, 13:58 EEST
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author: eu2013.lt

European Union (EU) justice ministers considered possible perspectives of the EU justice area from 2014 and submitted proposals regarding implementation of the EU personal data protection reform in the informal meeting on 19 July in Vilnius.

"I am pleased with the outcome of today’s meeting. We had fruitful discussions on both the future of the EU justice area and the personal data protection reform topics. They will contribute to making decisions that meet interests of the EU citizens best. The justice ministers have demonstrated strong desire to seek constructive solutions on the items of agenda proposed by Lithuania, which is holding Presidency of the EU Council," said Justice Minister Juozas Bernatonis after the meeting.

During the discussions on the future of the EU area of justice after 2014, when the Stockholm Programme expires, the justice ministers of EU member states expressed opinion that new strategic guidelines defining legislative and operational priorities for the area of freedom, security and justice are necessary.

In the opinion of most justice ministers of EU member states, legislative and operational strategic guidelines for the area of freedom, security and justice should be developed taking into account the following key principles: establishment of EU strategic goals in the justice area, close cooperation among EU institutions and proper funding of the envisaged measures.

The participants of the meeting also expressed position that key priorities in the area of justice after 2014 should be these ones: implementation of already adopted EU legal acts in the member states, safeguarding fundamental rights, including data protection, more efficient judicial cooperation among member states as well as wider use of IT in the justice field.
“Everybody agrees that the growing EU needs appropriate measures that would meet the challenges of today and by creating stable and proper legal environment would promote economic growth and help to achieve that economy and society would be more predictable and more open," said Lithuanian Minister of Justice.

The key objective of the General Data Protection Regulation, which is currently discussed at the EU Council, is to ensure more consistent, clearer and smoother application of data protection standards across the EU. That would enable to avoid partial transposition of the 1995 Data Protection Directive into national legislation and do away with the requirement that companies have to report about data processing to the supervisory authorities of all the member states in which they operate.

During the debates on the EU data protection reform issues the ministers focused on the role of the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) role in applying the this regulation in all member states.

The establishment of the EDPB, comprising heads of a supervisory authority from each member state and the European Data Protection Supervisor, is one of the tools envisaged to achieve this key objective. The ministers agreed to seek that the EU data protection rules would be consistently followed and expressed support to the role of EDPB in this direction.

"The EU must respond sharply to the challenges of globalization and development of information technology. Protection of human rights must be our priority. Everybody agrees that reliable data protection mechanisms are of vital importance," said J. Bernatonis.

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