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Feathers fly at justice council over data protection one-stop shop

By Simon Taylor  -  12.12.2013 / 04:30 CET
Viviane Reding, the European commissioner for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship, has accused the head of the Council's legal service of giving a political opinion on a crucial aspect of proposed new data protection rules.

At a meeting of the European Union's justice ministers on 6 December, Reding reacted angrily to an opinion from Hubert Legal, the head of the Council's legal service, that had been presented to EU ambassadors on 4 December.

Legal's misgivings concerned a proposal for a one-stop-shop, a fundamental element of Reding's proposal that would allow citizens to seek redress for abuses of their data in the country where they were based, rather than having to bring legal action in the country where the company was supervised. Legal pointed to cases where the data protection supervisor responsible for some decisions would be based in a different country from that of the citizen. This would make it “excessively difficult” for a citizen to challenge those decisions, and the proposal would therefore fail to protect citizens' right to legal protection under the EU treaties.

A visibly angry Reding questioned why the Council's legal service had expressed this view now, two years after the start of discussions on the proposals. Reding then asked Ben Smulders from the Commission's legal service to rebut Legal's argument. Smulders argued that in most cases citizens would be able to obtain redress from national courts and that exceptional cases did not undermine the core principles of Reding's proposal.

© 2014 European Voice. All rights reserved.

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