EDPS Opinion on Maintenance Obligations Regulation Proposal


The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has given his opinion on the Proposal for a Council Regulation on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations (COM(2005) 649 final).

The matters discussed in the opinion are limited to those concerning personal data protection. The EDPS summarizes the main thrust of the Proposal thus:

the proposal lays down a mechanism of exchange of information about the debtor and the creditor of maintenance obligations, with a view to facilitating the establishment and the recovery of maintenance claims. For this purpose, central national authorities will be designated in order to handle requests of information lodged by national judicial authorities (of other Member States) and collect personal data from different national administrations and authorities in order to fulfil these requests. The usual procedure will be as follows: a creditor will lodge an application through a court; the national central authority, upon request of the Court, will send an application to the central authorities of the requested Member State (through a specific form contained in Annex V); the latter central authorities will gather the requested information and will reply to the requesting central authority, which will then provide the information to the requesting court (para.4.)

The EDPS notes that the current proposal does not provide for exchanges of personal data with third countries, but international cooperation is explicitly envisaged in the explanatory memorandum. In this context, the EDPS states, it is noteworthy to mention the ongoing negotiations for a new comprehensive Convention of the Hague Conference on Private International Law concerning international recovery of maintenance. He continues:

It goes without saying that this international cooperation is likely to lay down mechanisms for exchanges of personal data with third countries. In this regard, the EDPS would like to stress again that these exchanges should be allowed only if the third country ensures an adequate level of protection of personal data or if the transfer falls within the scope of one of the derogations laid down by Directive 95/46/EC.

Overall, the EDPS welcomes the proposal, subject to alterations and reservations of a technical, rather than substantive, nature. The opinion of the EDPS can be found here.

Many thanks to the EU Law Blog for the tip-off.