On 28 February 2018, the European Commission published the draft Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK, based on the Joint Report from the negotiators of the two parties on the progress achieved during the first phase of the Brexit negotiations.
The Special Commission set up by the Council on General Affairs and Policy of the Hague Conference on Private International Law to prepare a preliminary draft convention on the recognition of judgments in civil and commercial matters (the Judgments Project) met for the second time between 16 and 24 February 2017.
On 10 November 2016, the French MEP Joëlle Bergeron submitted to the Committee on Legal Affairs of the European Parliament a draft report regarding the protection of vulnerable adults.
By Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1823 of 10 October 2016, the European Commission has established the forms referred to in Regulation (EU) No 655/2014 of 15 May 2014 on the European Account Preservation Order (EAPO) procedure, an ex parte procedure that applies in cross-border cases and is intended to allow creditors to preserve funds in bank accounts under uniform conditions in all EU Member States (with the exception of the UK and Denmark). The procedure will become available on 18 January 2017.
This post has been written by Martina Mantovani.
On 4 May 2016, Regulation (EU) 2016/679 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR) was published on the Official Journal. It shall apply as of 25 May 2018.
Adopted on the basis of Article 16(2) TFEU, the Regulation is the core element of the Commission’s Data protection reform package, which also includes a Directive for the protection of personal data with regard to the processing by criminal law enforcement authorities.
The new measure aims at modernising the legislative framework for data protection, so as to allow both businesses and citizens to seize the opportunities of the Digital Single Market.
First and foremost, businesses will benefit from a simplified legal landscape, as the detailed and uniform provisions laid down by the GDPR, which are directly applicable throughout the EU, will overcome most of the difficulties experienced with the divergent national implementations of Directive 95/46/EC, and with the rather complex conflict-of-law provision which appeared in Article 4 of the Directive.
Nevertheless, some coordination will still be required between the laws of the various Member States, since the new regime does not entirely rule out the relevance of national provisions. As stated in Recitals 8 and 10, the GDPR ‘provides a margin of manoeuvre for Member States’ to restrict or specify its rules. For example, Member States are allowed to specify or introduce further conditions for the processing depending, inter alia, on the nature of the data concerned (Recital 53 refers, in particular, to genetic, biometric, or health-related data).
Secondly, the new Regulation marks a significant extension of the extraterritorial application of EU data protection law, with the express intent of leveling the playing field between European businesses and non-EU established companies operatig in the Single Market. In delimiting the territorial scope of application of the new rules, Article 3 of the GDPR borrows on the case-law of the Court of Justice regarding Article 4 of Directive 96/45/EC. Pursuant to Article 3(1), the Regulation applies to any processing of personal data in the context of the activities of an establishment of a controller or a processor in the Union, ‘regardless of whether the processing itself takes place within the Union or not’ (along the lines of the Google Spain case).
Moreover, Article 3(2) refers to the targeting, by non-EU established controllers and processors, of individuals ‘who are in the Union’, for the purposes of offering goods or services to such subjects or monitoring their behaviours. This connecting factor, further specified by Recital 23 in keeping with the findings of the Court of Justice in Weltimmo, is somehow more specific than the former ‘equipment/means’ criteria set out by the Directive (cfr. Opinion 8/2010 of the Working Party on the Protection of Individuals with regard to the processing of personal data, on applicable law).
One of the key innovations brought along by the GDPR is the so-called one-stop-shop mechanism. The idea, in essence, is that where a data controller or processor processes information relating to individuals in more than one Member State, a supervisory authority in one EU Member State should be in charge of controlling the controller’s or processor’s activities, with the assistance and oversight of the corresponding authorities of the other Member States concerned (Article 52). It remains to be seen whether the watered down version which in the end found its way into the final text of the Regulation will effectively deliver the cutting of red tape promised to businesses.
The other goal of the GDPR is to provide individuals with a stronger control on their personal data, so as to restore consumers’ trust in the digital economy. To this end, the new legislative framework updates some of the basic principles set out by Directive 95/46/EC — which are believed to ‘remain sound’ (Recital 9) — and devises some new ones, in order to further buttress the position of data subjects with respect to their own data.
On 17 March 2016, the Council on General Affairs and Policy of the Hague Conference on Private International Law decided to set up a Special Commission to prepare a draft Convention on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments (the Hague Judgments Convention), while endorsing the recommendation of the Working Group on the Judgments Project that matters relating to direct jurisdiction should be put for consideration to the Experts’ Group of the Judgments Project soon after the Special Commission has drawn up a draft Convention.
On 15 April 2016, the Faculty of Law of the University of Santiago de Compostela will host a conference on Security rights and the European Insolvency Regulation: From Conflicts of Laws towards Harmonization.
Speakers include Paul Beaumont (Univ. of Aberdeen), Francisco Garcimartín Alferez (Autonomous Univ. of Madrid), Anna Gardella (European Banking Authority), Wolf-Georg Ringe (Copenhagen Business School), Françoise Pérochon (Univ. of Montpellier) and Paul Omar (Nottingham Trent University).