EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding scored an important victory in the European Parliament today after securing support for a rewrite of the 28-nation bloc's data protection laws.
Proposed changes to the DP Regulation secured 371 politicos in favour, 10 against and 22 abstentions. Altogether 276 MEPs voted for the DP Directive while 30 of them abstained.
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In a baffling move to win over businesses operating in the EU, Reding said:
The message the European Parliament is sending is unequivocal: This reform is a necessity, and now it is irreversible. Europe's directly elected parliamentarians have listened to European citizens and European businesses and, with this vote, have made clear that we need a uniform and strong European data protection law, which will make life easier for business and strengthen the protection of our citizens.
Data Protection is made in Europe. Strong data protection rules must be Europe's trade mark. Following the US data spying scandals, data protection is more than ever a competitive advantage.
The vote cemented the EU Parliament's support ahead of elections in May.
But, in effect, Reding's bill - which has undergone many amendments - is only about two thirds of the way there. A major sticking point is likely to come when the Council of Ministers sets out its position on the planned legislation to overhaul rules that were written in the infancy of the web in 1995. ®