Speech during Joint Debate on the Data Protection Package

Commissioner, President, Data is the lifeblood of the global economy and the use of data has totally transformed the way we work, live and socialise. It has become vital to our economic and our security interests. However, we currently operate under a legal regime that was created before Twitter, Uber and Amazon were twinkles in a billionaire's eye. My group and I have, at times, had serious reservations about the content of the proposal and the direction negotiations took on certain issues but I hope that, now we are at the end, a pragmatic and workable solution has been put in place. This data protection legislation will only last up to another twenty years like the last if it is capable of establishing technology-neutral and "principles-based" rules, so that it can respond quickly. This Regulation is without doubt a comprehensive change to many issues surrounding the processing of data and the implementation of this Regulation is key. What businesses don't want is heavy-handed regulation and what consumers don't want are complicated rules which give no greater clarity on what their rights are. We have thankfully ended up with far more sensible and workable ideas related to consent, fines, notification periods, scientific research, direct marketing and legitimate interests, and derogations for small and medium-sized businesses. And these issues were key for my political group. My hope is that the new rules will increase consumer trust and create a legal level playing field across the EU, where businesses know exactly what they can and can't do, which in turn will attract future investment in the digital single market from outside the EU and allow innovation and industry to flourish. Both the data protection regulation and the law enforcement directive are about creating trust, trust in our individual systems, and therefore creating more trust for our EU cross-border cooperation.