“A year from now, the European Union will start benefiting from the new data protection standards.”

This week, the European Commission’s most senior voices gave an official statement promoting the benefits of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Andrus Ansip (Vice-President) and Věra Jourová (Commissioner) of the European Commission aimed their statement at all those who will be affected by GDPR changes, from individual data subjects, to processing organisations and Member States. In the spirit of harmonisation of EU rules, the statement made clear that the GDPR will be one “single set of rules across the EU”, which is intended to create more legal certainty for businesses in order to foster growth within the Digital Single Market.

Member States are encouraged to ‘step up’ their work this year by engaging with companies and ensuring a harmonised approach so that the law, once implemented, is not fragmented across the EU. It is also noted that there will be a European Commission-led EU-wide campaign later this year to raise awareness. The statement notes that, in order to make compliance cheaper and less complicated, companies will only have to deal with one single supervisory authority, rather than 28 as now.

Other benefits highlighted are the fact that public services can be modernised, and that citizens can become more empowered as their data protection rights are clarified by the GDPR.

Despite the grey areas that are still present in how the GDPR will work in practice, the statement also proposes more legislation around the free flow of data, to be released later in 2017.

Please stay tuned to our blog for further GDPR updates.