what was at stake
green position
what we achieved
what we did not achieve

Personal data protection

Protection of personal data is in focus following revelations by whistle-blower Edward Snowden and the ensuing NSA scandal.

The European Parliament is overhauling EU data protection rules, ensuring they are up to the task of the challenges in the digital age. Companies should not be allowed to make money by selling private data.

This legislation introduces overarching EU rules on data protection, replacing the current patchwork of national laws.

Key issues include the 'right to erasure', explicit consent regarding data use and sanctions for companies that refuse to ‘erase’. 

The Greens were in charge of the negotiations in this highly sensitive file.


What was the Greens' position?

Personal data must remain personal. Companies and governments should not have the right to share it or profit from it without explicit consent from users.

The Greens want to ensure a high level of protection for Europeans. It is exclusively EU law that applies to EU citizens' private data regardless of where the business processing their data has its seat: the data of EU citizens cannot be transferred to other people, institutions or companies without any legal basis in EU law.

The new rules must have teeth: meaningful sanctions (up to 5% of worldwide annual turnover) should act as a real deterrent for companies to infringe EU law.


Did other MEPs accept the Greens' position?

The adoption itself of this Green-drafted legislation was a success. No less than 5.000 amendments were tabled, highlighting the intense lobbying against it by large IT firms who profit from profiling and direct marketing.

Also, the conservative side of the Parliament, after being heavily lobbied by the industry, was strongly against the application of stronger data protection standards in the area of law enforcement – a very odd position, to say the least, in the light of the Snowden revelations.  


Which points did the Greens lose?

Overall the Greens are satisfied with the result.


Procedure:Ordinary legislative procedure

Reference(s):2012/11/COD and 2012/10/COD

Lead MEP:Jan Philipp Albrecht (Greens/EFA) & Dimitrios Droutsas (S&D)

Green MEP responsible:Jan Philipp Albrecht


Staff contact:Wouter van Ballegooij (Email)

Outcome of the vote
Below you find the results of the final vote in plenary. How did the political groups vote? What about national delegations? And what was the position of your MEP?