Following yesterday's vote in the European Parliament, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has expressed his satisfaction with how the Parliament addressed the delicate issue of reconciling transparency requirements with data protection obligations.
Although some legal fine-tuning is still needed, the amendments adopted by MEPs clearly reflect an approach which strives for a proper balance between transparency on the one hand and data protection on the other.
Reflecting on the vote, Peter Hustinx says: "These amendments create clarity and prevent an overzealous application of data protection rules in this area. They confirm that data protection does not stand in the way of public disclosure of personal information in cases where the person involved has no legitimate reason for keeping the data secret."
According to the Parliament, only when the privacy and integrity of persons are really at stake, can information be withheld. This means for instance that information about professional activities of persons involved in EU affairs will be disclosed, unless there are specific circumstances in which disclosure would adversely affect the person concerned. In the past, access to such information was often refused by the institutions basing themselves on data protection requirements.
The EDPS expresses his hope that the position taken by MEPs will be upheld during the negotiations between the Commission, Council and the European Parliament in the coming months.