Lack of resources puts enforcement of individuals’ data protection rights at risk

Sep 13, 2022

Source: European Data Protection Board

“We are deeply concerned that the 2023 budget, if not substantially increased, will be significantly too small to allow the EDPB and the EDPS to fulfil their tasks appropriately,” Andrea Jelinek, Chair of the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), and Wojciech Wiewiórowski, European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), write in an Open Letter to the European Parliament and the European Council.

The EDPB budget forms part of the broader budget of the EDPS. The budget is proposed by the European Commission and approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (article 314 of the TFEU). During the preparation of the General budget of the European Union 2023, the EDPS made two consecutive budget proposals to the European Commission requesting an increase of staff and financial resources, to enable the EDPB and EDPS to manage their expanding range of tasks and growing workload. The requested increase, below the ceiling of the EU’s seven year financial plan, was rejected by the European Commission.

Andrea Jelinek said: “The EDPB plays an essential role in the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). There are high expectations regarding the GDPR’s success in reining in data protection abuses, especially by large tech companies. However, the EDPB Secretariat is currently understaffed and at risk of no longer being able to fulfil its legal duties at the service of the EDPB and of the GDPR. Should this happen, the enforcement of individuals’ data protection rights would be weakened and the credibility of the GDPR undermined.”

The EDPB Secretariat supports the Members of the Board by providing analytical, administrative and logistical support. In particular, it is responsible for settling disputes between national data protection authorities (DPAs) within the One-Stop-Shop mechanism. The dispute resolution mechanism concerns draft decisions prepared by the Lead Data Protection Authority concerning private sector practices and may lead to fines amounting to hundreds of millions of euros.

Wojciech Wiewiórowski said: “The public expects data protection authorities to deliver the promise of the GDPR. This also relies, however, on our ability to ensure effective cooperation and run robust cases, supported with high quality legal analysis. Current scarce resources create a serious obstacle – to the detriment of EU citizens. Our concerns have been echoed by civil society, academia and policymakers gathered at the EDPS Conference on The Future of Data Protection, which I take as a sign of acknowledgement of importance of adequate funding for the EDPB and the EDPS”.

The European Parliament will vote on the General budget of the European Union for the financial year 2023 during the second plenary session of October. In case the Council does not accept all of the Parliament’s amendments, a meeting of the Conciliation Committee will be convened to agree on a joint text within 21 days.

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