Spain faces EU fine for negligence in data protection legislation

by Deborah Cater
Spain fined by EU over data protection failings

The Court of Justice of the European Union fines Spain €89,000 per day and a one-off payment of €15million for failing to implement on time a directive on personal data protection.

The EU Member States had until 6 May 2018 to activate their guidelines for personal data protection. This concerns the protection of personal data by competent authorities as laid down in Directive 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016.

Penalty for negligence and warning for future

The verdict, handed down by the European Court of Justice on February 25, refers to Article 260 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The imposed fine of €89,000 euros per day should put an end to non-compliance with an EU obligation. The one-off payment of €15million serves as a warning against non-compliance with other EU agreements in the future.

Casa Las Dunas Spain

Minister uses pandemic and elections as an excuse

On April 15, the European Parliament asked for clarification on the matter from Interior Minister Grande-Marlaska. He indicated the early elections in 2018 and the fight against the corona pandemic had caused the delay. In doing so, the minister emphasised he only took up his current position after the end date of 6 May 2018. At that time, no legal preparations had been made at that time. The same was previously the case with the EU Directive on the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data.

Negligence is very serious according to the EU

The EU did not agree with the Grande-Marlaska statement, holding that “incomplete or even the complete lack of rules at national level aimed at the proper functioning of freedom, security and justice within the European Union should be taken very seriously, considered in view of public and private interests within the Union”.

The Ministry of the Interior is the designated government body to integrate an EU directive into Spanish law. On 9 February this year, the Council of Ministers approved a bill for an Organic Data Protection Act. This was then sent to the House of Representatives, which dealt with it through an urgent procedure. The approved proposal is now with the Senate, which must also approve the proposal within twenty days. Until then, the Spanish government will have to pay the fine of €89,000 per day to the European Union.

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