The European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee voted on 20 February to adopt an opinion on the proposed General Data Protection Regulation. The Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) Committee also voted the following day to adopt their own opinion. A total of four committees have now submitted opinions to the Rapporteur, including the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) and Legal Affairs committees.
The ITRE Committee opinion, drafted by MEP Sean Kelly (EPP, Ireland), has received mixed coverage since its adoption. The Commission has welcomed the Committee’s amendments and states that the final opinion ’backed the main innovations of the Commission’s data protection reform’  whilst the EEP Group press release commends Mr Kelly’s defeat of amendments from other groups which attempted to ’smother[ed] every small business across Europe in red tape’ .
However, other reports have raised concerns about the implications of the Committee’s exemption for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and rejection of mandatory fines for companies caught breaching the new rules . Such amendments are seen as a watering-down of the legislation, potentially limiting its impact and endangering consumers and patients.
The EMPL Committee opinion focuses, at the suggestion of Shadow Rapporteur MEP Nadja Hirsch (ALDE, Germany), upon Article 82. Amendments offered would remove the 250-employee-threshold on the requirement for documentation in Article 28(4), exclude the delegated act provision in Article 6 and allow for the appointment of a single data protection officer (DPO) for a group of public and private entities. The amendments to Article 82 allow member states to provide protection of higher standard than that set out in the Regulation, provide greater protection for DPOs and sets out guidelines for minimum standards of employee data protection.
The final vote of the LIBE Committee is expected at the end of April.
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