LIBE lawmakers adopt list of actions to enable further GDPR application

They are concerned that many supervisory authorities lack sufficient resources to perform their tasks

Photo: EP

For a strong and effective enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) vis-à-vis large digital platforms, integrated companies and other digital services, urged MEPs of the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) in a draft resolution adopted on Tuesday.

Evaluating the regulation two years after its application, LIBE members concluded that so far it has been an overall success and that it was not necessary at this stage to update or review the legislation. However, they proposed a list of actions to facilitate its effective enforcement and adequate resources for supervisory authorities.

Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES), LIBE Chair and rapporteur, commented that the Committee recognises that the General Data Protection Regulation has become the paramount standard for the protection of personal data around the world, placing the EU at the forefront of international discussions about data protection.

However, we acknowledge that further work is needed in certain areas and therefore call on the Commission, the supervisory authorities and the Member States to improve efforts and resources in order to achieve full implementation and satisfactory enforcement of the GDPR across the Union, he stressed.

Lawmakers demanded the Commission and EU countries to push for the creation of international standards that are shaped on European values in international fora.

“A dominant European position in this field would help to better defend the rights of EU citizens, promote trustful digital innovation and accelerate the economic growth,” the resolution says.

LIBE members are concerned that many supervisory authorities across the EU lack sufficient human, technical and financial resources to perform their tasks and exercise their powers effectively.

According to them these authorities should be able to deal swiftly and thoroughly with an increasing number of resource-intensive and complex cases and to coordinate and facilitate cooperation between the national data protection authorities (DPAs).

MEPs also underscored that the success of this mechanism depends on the time and effort that DPAs can dedicate to the handling of individual cases and that lack of political will and resources has immediate consequences for the proper work of the mechanism.

The uneven enforcement of the GDPR by national DPAs resulting in the burden of enforcement falling on individual citizens, was as well on the radar of the Committee.  MEPs called on the Irish and Luxembourg authorities to speed up their ongoing investigations into major cases.

The deputies wished to see more support, information and training to be made available by national authorities, the Commission and the European Data Protection Board to help SMEs, schools and some other organisations with the quality of implementation, as for them this was a particularly challenging exercise.

Lawmakers warned that data protection rules should not be used as a way to put pressure on journalists to disclose their sources. They also said the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted that clear guidance from the DPAs and the EU Data Protection Board is necessary on the appropriate implementation of the GDPR in public health policies.

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