Proposal for a Regulation on European Data Governance

In “A Europe Fit for the Digital Age”

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The Data Governance Act (DGA) is the first of a set of measures announced in the 2020 European Strategy for Data. A consultation on the Data Strategy revealed that 90% of the respondents considered that data governance mechanisms are needed to capture the enormous potential of data, in particular for cross-sector data use. On 25 November 2020, the European Commission published its draft Data Governance Act. It held a public consultation on the draft act from 25 November 2020 to 08 February 2021.

In the European Parliament (EP), the file was assigned to the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) and MEP Angelika Niebler (Germany, EPP) was appointed as rapporteur on 17 December 2020. The Committee adopted its report on 22 July 2021 and on 01 October 2021 the Council adopted its position. Parliament favoured a prescriptive and detailed regulation, whereas Council took a moderate approach, leaving public authorities and data intermediation services with more room for manoeuvre. The European Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement on 30 November 2021. Parliament adopted the final text on 6 April 2022 and Council approved Parliament's text on 16 May 2022, thereby adopting the legislative act. The act was signed by the President of the European Parliament and the President of the Council on 30 Mai 2022, and promulgated in the Official Journal of the European Union on 3 June 2022. It entered into force 20 days after publication and shall apply from 24 September 2023.

To facilitate data sharing across the EU and between sectors, the draft regulation aimed to strengthen mechanisms that increase data availability and foster trust in intermediaries. The Commission tabled a proposal laying down: (i) conditions under which public authorities may allow the re-use of data that are subject to the rights of others; (ii) a compulsory notification and supervisory framework for providers facilitating the sharing of data; (iii) a framework for voluntary registration of data altruism organisations that facilitate the sharing of data for altruistic purposes; and (iv) a European data innovation board (EDIB) to ease the exchange of national practices and promote standardisation and interoperability.

The co-legislators compromised on re-use of publicly held data, prohibiting public authorities from granting exclusive rights for the use of certain data for longer than 12 months and obliging public authorities to make their 'best efforts' to help data re-users seek consent from data rights holders. In contrast to the Commission proposal, the co-legislators tightened the conditions for providing data intermediation services. On the initiative of Parliament, the co-legislators agreed to prohibit entities from making commercial terms for data intermediation services dependent on the use of other services from related entities. In line with suggestions from Council, the lawmakers both tightened and relaxed requirements under which organisations qualify for registration as a data altruism organisation. Ultimately, organisations must comply with a rulebook adopted by the Commission, but it would be sufficient for them to perform data altruism activities functionally separate from other activities, rather than through a dedicated legal entity as proposed by the Commission. Parliament insisted on detailed provisions on the composition and tasks of the European data innovation board to ensure effective implementation of the digital governance act. Finally, the co-legislators compromised and stipulated delegated acts for particularly sensitive decisions, and set a revised date of application of 15 months from entry into force.

References:

Further reading:

  • European Parliament, Data Governance Act, Legislative Briefing, EPRS, June 2021
  • European Parliament, Data Governance Act, Initial Appraisal of the EC Impact Assessment, EPRS, February 2021

Author: Hendrik Mildebrath, Members' Research Service, legislative-train@europarl.europa.eu

As of 20/04/2024.