The EU Council, which is composed of ministers of the 28 member states of the EU, has now agreed its general position on reform of EU data protection rules. This means that the trilogue negotiations between the EU Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament can commence.

ESRC has signed a joint statement (PDF, 306Kb) which sets out the position of academic, patient and non-commercial research organisations, ahead of the trilogue.

In the statement, the signatories ask the Council of Ministers, European Parliament and European Commission to demonstrate their shared commitment to research by finding a compromise position, in trilogue negotiations, that:

  • maintains important exemptions for health and scientific research, including an alternative means to allow processing of personal data for research where consent is not practicable
  • includes proportionate safeguards to protect data subjects' interests and ensure exemptions are used appropriately
  • seeks harmonisation where possible, but allows necessary flexibility for Member States to implement culturally and socially acceptable solutions.

EU rules on data protection were updated in April 2016. For more information, read the press release on the European Parliament website.