Insights GDPR: European Parliament proposes new rules to strengthen enforcement


Members of the European Parliament have reached agreement on their position as regards new procedural rules aimed at strengthening the enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). The adopted position seeks to respond to concerns that enforcement of the GDPR since its introduction has been uneven across Member States and that the handling of cross-border cases is inefficient.

In order to streamline cross border-procedures, the European Parliament has included an amendment to address joint case files. In its view, joint case files play a role in addressing the need to ensure that all parties have the right to “equal and impartial treatment regardless of where their complaint was lodged” and to procedural transparency. Under the amendment drafted by MEPs, joint case files would contain all information related to a case, and supervisory authorities should have “instant, unrestricted and continuous” access to the joint case file.

MEPs have also included amendments to standardise procedural deadlines: supervisory authorities would have two weeks to acknowledge a complaint and declare it either admissible or inadmissible. They would then have a further three weeks to reach a decision as to whether the case was a cross-border case and, if so, which authority should be the lead authority. It is proposed that, absent “certain exceptional circumstances”, draft decisions must be delivered within nine months of having received a complaint.

Finally, MEPs have sought to clarify the rules relating to so-called ‘amicable settlements’ by not only making it clear that such settlements require the explicit consent of the parties, but also that they do not preclude the ability of a Data Protection Authority (“DPA”) to start its own investigation into the matter. Equally, the amendments seek to clarify that other DPAs can request that the lead authority start such an investigation, and that all parties to complaint procedures have the right to effective judicial remedies if, for example, DPAs do not take necessary actions or comply with deadlines.

The amendments can be read in full here, and will be followed up by the new Parliament after the European elections in June.