At the latest meeting in Brussels, Justice ministers agreed on a partial general approach. Andrea Orlando, Italy’s Minister for Justice and President of the Council, expressed the importance of this consensus on one of the “most politically sensitive issues on data protection reform”.

The press release states that the partial general approach includes articles which “are crucial to the question of the public sector (Article 1, Article 6, (paragraphs (1) and (2), Article 21) as well as chapter IX … and the latest recitals”. Chapter IX examines personal data processing for statistical, scientific and medical research purposes, as well as provisions dealing with freedom of expression, employment and social protection.

Despite consensus, the press release also states that the agreement was reached on the basis that:

  • Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed
  • It is without prejudice to any horizontal questions
  • It does not mandate the Council Presidency to engage in informal trialogues with the European Parliament on the text

In light of this, it appears that adoption of the Data Protection Regulation may not happen until 2016.