2004 was the year in which the EDPS was set up, with indispensable assistance from the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission. Although the legal obligation to respect data protection was not new to the EC institutions and bodies, they face a new situation - being monitored by an independent supervisory authority. The EDPS took a pragmatic approach to enforcing data protection and allowed for a learning period, during which a sound data protection culture can be developed. 2004 also saw the EDPS establishing himself as an advisor to the legislative procedures by issuing his first consultative opinion.
The EU has set up a number of large-scale IT systems including Eurodac; the Visa Information System; the Schengen Information System; the Customs Information System; the Internal Market Information System.
The supervision of these databases is shared between the national Data Protection Authorities and the EDPS.
In order to ensure a high and consistent level of data protection, national DPAs and the EDPS work together to coordinate the supervision of these databases.