The new European commissioner with responsibility for data protection has outlined her desire to introduce the Data Protection Regulation that would create a single law covering the entire continent.
Questions had been raised over whether the new Regulation, a crusade championed by previous justice commissioner Viviane Reding, would survive the reshuffle of the European Commission earlier this year.
However, during a speech at the fifth Annual Data Protection and Privacy Conference in Brussels, the new commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, Věra Jourová, has outlined her wish to continue this effort.
"The proposed Data Protection Regulation will do away with 28 differing national laws, and provide a single set of rules on data protection valid across the EU," she said.
"We will simplify things by removing unnecessary administrative requirements, such as notification requirements for companies, further cutting red tape and increasing legal certainty for businesses."
Stewart Room, a PwC partner and data protection expert, told V3 that the new Regulation seems likely to make it into law, and that companies must start preparing for its arrival now.
"The consensus is that the odds of Europe adopting the Regulation in 2015 are very high, which will trigger the countdown to transposition," he said.
"I strongly encourage businesses to consider the impact of the Regulation, because it will require many adjustments to be made to governance and operations, which will require careful planning."
Jourová's speech also touched on data monitoring and sharing between Europe and the US, outling this as a key area she wishes to address.
"Among my key priorities is therefore to ensure that our Safe Harbour arrangement with the US is really safe and that all EU citizens can enforce data protection also in US courts," she said.
"My aim is to improve the Safe Harbour arrangement, to make it actually safe for European citizens' data. But the suspension of the arrangement remains an option on the table."
The importance of securing data rights for EU citizens under US law, similar to that which the US population enjoys in Europe, was also touched on by Jourová.
"We are also negotiating an 'Umbrella' agreement with our American partners on data protection in the area of law enforcement," she said.
"In this respect, the Umbrella agreement must eliminate a very visible discrimination, one which the US has recognised: the right of effective judicial redress should be granted by the US to EU citizens not resident in the US."
Google has already weighed in on this, also pushing for EU citizens to have more rights under US law, chiefly so that it can push back on data requests from the US government with more power.
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