EU-flash: Maltese Presidency Priorities and the European data economy


For the next 6 months, the presidency of the EU Council will be entrusted to Malta, which has made the further development of the European single market one of its major aims. On January 10, 2017, the European Commission proposed a number of policy and legal measures aimed at fostering the EU data-based economy.

Below you can find a brief summary of these topics.

Priorities of the Maltese presidency of the Council of the EU

On 1 January 2017, Malta took over the Presidency of the Council of the EU. During the next 6 months, the presidency will focus on 6 key areas: migration, the single market, security, social inclusion, Europe's neighbourhood and the maritime sector. The Capital Markets Union will also be given its due importance during the Presidency.

The priorities of the Maltese Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers are being outlined to parliamentary committees by Maltese ministers at a series of meetings taking place in January.

To read the full list of priorities, click here.

Full details.

Next steps towards a European data economy

On 10 January 2017, the European Commission proposed policy and legal solutions to unleash EU's data economy, as part of its Digital Single Market strategy presented in May 2015. The Commission also launched two public consultations and a debate with Member States and stakeholders to define the next steps.

All these initiatives are based on strong rules to protect personal data (the General Data Protection regulation adopted last year) and to ensure the confidentiality of electronic communications , since trust is the foundation on which the data economy must be built.

In order to make the most of data for the European economy, the Commission will:

  • Engage in structured dialogues with Member States and stakeholders to discuss the proportionality of data localisation restrictions. The goal is also to collect further evidence on the nature of these restrictions and their impact on businesses, especially SMEs and start-ups, and public sector organisations.
  • Launch, where needed and appropriate, enforcement actions and, if necessary, take further initiatives to address unjustified or disproportionate data location restrictions.
  • The Commission has also looked at legal uncertainties created by emerging issues in the data economy and seeks views on possible policy and legal responses regarding:
    • Data access and transfer. Wide use of non-personal machine-generated data can lead to great innovations, startups and new business models born in the EU.
    • Liability related to data-based products and services. The current EU liability rules are not adapted to today's digital, data-driven products and services.
    • Data portability. Portability of non-personal data is currently complicated, for example, when a business wants to move large amounts of company data from one cloud service provider to another.

Full details.

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