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DMA Data Protection Regulation lobbying trip

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(pictured: Timothy Kirkhope MEP)

Last week I travelled to Brussels to lobby UK MEP Timothy Kirkhope, who is a member of the Conservative Party and a representative of the pan-EU ECR political grouping at LIBE, the committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs. Also at the meeting were my FEDMA colleagues Sebastien Houze and Mathilde Fiquet.

LIBE is also the committee responsible for Data Protection Regulation in the Parliament. Members of the committee will be active in Trilogue (three way) negotiations between Parliament, Council and Commission.

The meeting was positive. Mr Kirkhope takes a pro-business stance and understands that the final regulation must strike the right balance between the rights of the consumer and the legitimate interests of business.

He was aware that prescriptive regulation will not achieve what it sets out to do, and would limit innovation and investment in the data-driven industries.

While this was good news, it also reminds us that the key figures in the European Parliament leading the debate do not take a such pro-business approach.

Some Green and Liberal members have a firm privacy agenda, and are much less likely to adopt a pragmatic approach. This more ideological stance will be a wide river to cross in the trilogue negotiations as the Council of Ministers will take a generally pro-business stance.

Mr Kirkhope asked us to meet those MEPs and lobby them with our efforts. However, FEDMA attempts to meet with Green MEP Jan Philip Albrecht have so far been rejected. He rarely meets with industry representatives.

Mr Kirkhope also warned that negotiations may take longer than expected as the various positions across the EU’s institutions are at an impasse. However, political pressure is building across the EU to secure a deal. So, the EU Commission, Parliament and the Council will be eager to resolve the regulation by the end of 2015, the start of 2016.

The latest DMA update on the progression of the Data Protection Regulation can be found here.

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