The European Council and the European Parliament have begun trialogues (negotiations on dossiers) on the Data Protection Regulation
Both the European Council and the European Parliament have found a degree of common ground on many issues…except data for scientific research and the use of health data.
While many are optimistic about the future of the dossier, it would be very premature for the health and research community to celebrate that finally progress is being made.
The Parliament and the Council could not be further apart in terms of their official positions with the Parliament taking a highly restrictive privacy approach and the Council taking a very liberal approach to the use of health data (almost too liberal for many ethics committees).
The MEP in charge of the dossier, Mr. Albrecht (Greens/EFA, Germany) may be willing to make concessions on key articles for medical research and his position appears to have softened since the research community has been more engaged on the issue.
Both institutions are committed to achieving an agreement on the package by the end of this year including the GDPR and the corresponding Directive on the law enforcement. Based on their first meeting, all representatives said that the aim of finishing this year is clearly achievable and that there are more points in common than are different.
In this first trialogue, their main achievement was to develop a roadmap with the dates of future meetings. While this is not public, they confirmed that 8 trialogues have been planned in July and September and the Luxembourg Minister of Justice stated that they want a general approach on the directive on data processed in criminal proceedings by the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) meeting on the 8-9 October 2015. They will then start trialogues in tandem with the GDPR with the goal of concluding by the end of 2015. Because of the technical nature of the Regulation, and its connection to the Directive, they were reluctant to divulge a timeline for closing chapters despite the Parliament’s provisional timeline for discussions on specific chapters.