Outgoing European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Peter Hustinx, congratulated his successors, who have been appointed today by a joint decision of the European Parliament and the Council. Current Assistant Supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, will replace Hustinx in the top job, while Wojciech Wiewiórowski has been appointed Assistant Supervisor.
Peter Hustinx said: "I am very pleased that the EDPS selection process has been brought to a conclusion after so many months of uncertainty. I am particularly happy to be leaving the institution in the hands of two proven data protection experts, Giovanni Buttarelli and Wojciech Wiewiórowski. The new team will take over at an important time, with many challenging subjects calling for their attention. I wish them well in consolidating the reputation of the EDPS as a focal point for EU data protection."
The departure of Peter Hustinx and the upcoming adoption of a new data protection framework will mark the beginning of a new era for the EDPS. Set up in 2004, Mr. Hustinx has headed the EU's youngest institution from the start. Under his leadership, the EDPS has grown into a well-regarded, expert and influential voice within the EU and the data protection community.
The appointment of Giovanni Buttarelli as Supervisor ensures both continuity and leadership in European data protection. Mr. Buttarelli has a broad range of multidisciplinary experience, particularly on data protection issues. Since 2009, he has served as Assistant Supervisor alongside Peter Hustinx and prior to this, was Secretary General of the Italian Data Protection Authority, Garante. He takes up his new position as European Data Protection Supervisor today.
Giovanni Buttarelli, the new EDPS, said: "We are entering a crucial phase for European data protection. The rapid development of new technologies demands appropriate solutions. I am committed to supporting the EU legislator fully in its work to ensure that the data protection reform is adopted in 2015 and that modern and forward-thinking data protection mechanisms are implemented. In confronting the issues associated with big data, the time has come to make privacy and data protection more effective in the digital environment."
Wojciech Wiewiórowski, who will replace Giovanni Buttarelli as Assistant EDPS, is also a well-respected figure in the field of data protection. He has left his posts as Inspector General of the Polish Data Protection Authority, GIODO, and Deputy Chair of the Article 29 Working Party to join the EDPS.
Wojciech Wiewiórowski, new Assistant EDPS, said: "I am looking forward to building on my experience in effective enforcement and technological know-how in order to make existing and new data protection principles more effective in practice. EU institutions need to ensure a high level of compliance and further implement the principle of accountability that will be developed in the reform."
Giovanni Buttarelli (EDPS) and Wojciech Wiewiórowski (Assistant EDPS) are members of the institution, appointed by a joint decision of the European Parliament and the Council. Assigned for a five year term, they will take office on 4 December 2014.
The positions of the European Data Protection Supervisor and Assistant Supervisor are provided for by Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 on the protection of personal data in EU institutions and bodies. The selection procedure involves the three main EU institutions, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council. Following a public call for candidates, an inter-institutional selection board prepares a short list of the most competent applicants, who are then interviewed. Subsequently, the selection board forwards a list of recommended candidates to the European Commission for its adoption and submission to the European Parliament and the Council. Hearings then take place in the European Parliament and in the Council in order to evaluate the experience, skills and independence of the candidates. This is followed by discussions in Parliament and Council, and eventually a joint decision.
The Supervisor and Assistant Supervisor are chosen from persons whose independence is beyond doubt and who are acknowledged as having solid and long standing experience in the field of data protection, for example, because they belong or have belonged to national data protection authorities. They are eligible for reappointment.
Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 (Chapter V) lays down the duties and powers of the EDPS and the Assistant Supervisor, as well as the institutional independence of the supervisory authority. The general mission of the EDPS is to ensure that the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals - in particular their privacy - are respected when the European institutions and bodies process personal data or develop new policies.