SIMULATION GAME 2017 - TOPIC : General Data Protection

The protection of natural persons in relation to the processing of personal data is a core principle enshrined in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This fundamental right provides that everyone shall have the right to the protection of personal data concerning him or her. The principles and rules on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of their personal data should - whatever their nationality or residence - respect their fundamental rights and freedoms.

This right to protection is not an absolute one; it must be considered in relation to its function in society and be balanced against other fundamental rights, in accordance with the principle of proportionality.

Furthermore, rapid technological developments and the process of globalisation have brought about new challenges for the protection of personal data. The scope of the collection and sharing thereof has increased significantly, allowing both private companies and public authorities to make use of sensitive information on an unprecedented scale in order to pursue their activities. In the last decade, the volume of the exchange of personal data between public and private actors - including natural persons - across the European Union has grown at an impressive rate. Natural persons increasingly make personal information available publicly and globally since technology has transformed both economic and social life. It is imperative that the facilitation of the free flow of personal data within the Union and the transfer to third countries and international organisations be accompanied with a high level of safety for the consumers. National authorities within the Member States are being called upon by European law to cooperate and exchange personal data in order to be able to perform their duties or carry out tasks on behalf of an authority in another Member State.

For these reasons a Directive which respects all fundamental rights and observes the freedoms and the general EU principles is direly needed to contribute to the accomplishment of an area of freedom, security, justice and economic and social progress. The strengthening and the convergence of the economies within the internal market must be accompanied with the well-being of individuals, with particular regard to the respect for their private and family life, home, freedom of thought, conscience, religion, freedom of expression and information, freedom to conduct a business and right to cultural, religious and linguistic diversity.

The European Parliament and the Council need to work together to harmonise the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons in respect of processing activities to ensure the free flow of personal data within the Member States.

SUMMARY OF THE STRUCTURE

The European Union Model Torino 2017 aims to offer students from all over Italy and Europe a challenging firsthand experience of the daily functioning of the EU. During the Model participants, divided into two groups, will simulate the workings of the Parliament and the Council, with the purpose of passing new EU legislation on the topic of data protection. The Model’s Secretariat will represent the EU Commission, and it will start the procedure by making a proposal to both institutions and providing additional information and support to the discussion.

THE ORDINARY LEGISLATIVE PROCEDURE

The model will simulate the ordinary legislative procedure, also referred to as the ‘co-decision procedure,’ in which the Council and the Parliament cooperate to adopt a legislative proposal. The co-decision was introduced with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and amended in 1999 by the Amsterdam Treaty; its objective is to grant the same decisional power to both the Parliament and the Council. After the Lisbon’s Treaty reform, the co-decision procedure has become the standard procedure, applied by EU institutions in most cases. In the co-decision procedure, both legislators have identical rights and obligations, and they have to approve the same text.

  • Regulation: has general application and is binding in its entirety. It is directly applicable in the EU member states.
  • Directive: sets out a goal for all member states, which each member states decides how to transpose into national legislation.
  • Decision: binding on those to whom it is addressed (member states or individual companies). It is directly applicable in the EU member states.

THE COUNCIL

The Council of the EU is the institution representing the member states' governments. Also known informally as the EU Council, it is where national ministers from each EU country meet to negotiate and adopt EU laws, develop the EU's common foreign and security policy, conclude international agreements and coordinate member states’ policies.

The Council meets in 10 different configurations of 28 national ministers. The work of the Council is prepared by a body composed of permanent representatives (COREPER I or COREPER II), which monitors and co-ordinates work and deals with the Parliament on co-decision legislation. The Presidency of the Council, held by Malta, will be represented by the Secretariat.

THE PARLIAMENT

The European Parliament is directly elected by EU citizens every five years. It has 751 members and meets in plenary sessions once a month in Strasbourg. The Parliament also meets every month in Brussels in the form of topic-specific committees. The Parliament is chaired by a President elected among all 751 MEPs; the current President is Martin Schulz, form the Socialists & Democrats Group.

Currently there are seven political groups inside the European Parliament: the European People’s Party (EPP); the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D); the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR); the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE); the European United Left – Nordic Green Left (GUE); the European Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens); the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) and the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF). There is also a group of non-attached members, which counts 14 MEPs.

Most of the Parliament’s in-depth work is carried out in the above-mentioned specialized committees, which prepare reports that are later to be voted on in the plenary sessions. Participants will therefore simulate the meeting of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee (LIBE). LIBE has 55 members (15 from EPP, 13 from S&D, 7 from ECR, 5 from ALDE, 4 from EFDD, 4 from GUE, 3 from the Greens, 3 from ENF, 1 non-inscript). Chair and Vice-chairs of the Committee will be represented by the Secretariat.

THE STRUCTURE