15 June 2015: Council of Ministers approves their version of the Regulation.
End of 2015: Anticipated date for the Regulation to be finalised and published.
End of 2017: Anticipated date for the Regulation to be implemented in all Member States.
On 15 June 2015 the European Council of Ministers approved their full draft of the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Ministers, who represent the national interests of each Member State, have been negotiating the European Parliament's approved version of the GDPR since March of last year. After drip-feeding partial agreements of their general approach over the past twelve months, this is the first full draft we have seen from the Council.
While the Council's draft endorses some of the European Parliament's proposals, it is at odds with the Parliament text in many areas. For example:
The European Commission, European Parliament and Council of Ministers will now enter a closed door series of trilogue negotiations to agree the final text. This is scheduled to commence on 24 June 2015 in Brussels, well before the summer recess in August. Given the informal nature of EU trilogue negotiations, there is no clear deadline for the parties to come to a consensus on the final version of the GDPR. While there is increasing pressure to finalise the legislation quickly, the disparity between the Council's agreed general approach and that of the European Parliament means that negotiations could be slow. A final draft is unlikely to be concluded much before the end of this year.
Once the legislation is finalised there is likely to be a two year transition period that allows for all Member States to adapt to the new rules. On the current timeline, the GDPR could be in force throughout the EU by the end of 2017. Organisations (both inside and outside Europe) should examine the new rules very carefully to identify the changes that they need make to ensure that they are compliant with the GDPR before it comes into force.
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