HomeInsightsEuropean Commissioners publish statement on GDPR one year ahead of implementation

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Vice President Andrus Ansip and Commissioner Věra Jourová said that the success of the new GDPR, which will become effective across the EU in May 2018, depends not only on Member States adapting their national laws to the new rules, “but also on the knowledge of citizens of their new rights, and on businesses in the EU to be ready once the new rules enter into force.

They noted that the Commission has one year to work with Member States and to engage with businesses to make the GDPR a success when it is implemented. “This work should be stepped up and reinforced to ensure harmonisation and avoid fragmentation in the implementation”, the Commissioners said. The Commission will also be launching “an EU-wide campaign to raise awareness so that Europeans are conscious of their rights.

The Commissioners said that the new rules will “protect the EU citizens’ fundamental right to personal data protection”, and that everyone will benefit from “new and clarified rights”. For instance, people will have the right to know as soon as possible if their data has been hacked or disclosed. Further, it will be easier for people to complain and obtain compensation if they think their rights have not been respected. In addition, people will only need to contact their closest data protection authority, no matter where their data is stored. “With sanctions of up to 4 percent of annual turnover, authorities will also be in a position to enforce the new rules”, the Commissioners said.

In addition, the Commissioners said that businesses “will benefit from more legal certainty, with a single set of rules across the EU.” Companies will also only have to deal with one single supervisory authority. This will not only make things simpler, but cheaper, the Commissioners said. Further, SMEs will benefit from exemptions to ensure that the rules are adapted to the needs and capacity of smaller businesses. More generally, the data economy will “enable business growth, modernise public services and empower citizens.”

In 2018, Europe’s high data protection standards will finally become a reality. It is crucial that we make them work in practice”, the Commissioners concluded. To read the statement in full, click here.