On 13 September 2017, in the context of the Digital Single Market Initiative, the European Commission (“Commission”) issued a draft proposal to regulate the framework for the free flow of non-personal data in the EU (“draft proposal”). The highly anticipated draft proposal aims at establishing a framework of free cross-border data flow within the EU.

In an attempt to build a European data economy, the draft proposal seeks to create a competitive market for data storage and processing services and activities by, among other things, limiting the scope of data localization requirements currently imposed by Member States. In summary, the draft proposal puts forward measures which:

  • Reduce the range of restrictions for data localization;
  • Enhance legal certainty;
  • Facilitate the availability of data on a cross-border level;
  • Improve the conditions to switch data storage for users or port data back to IT systems for service providers; and
  • Reinforce the trust and security of cross-border data storage and processing.

Under the draft proposal, Member States will be required to notify the Commission about any draft legislation or measure introducing new data localization requirements or any plans to repeal existing national data localization requirements within a year of the application date of the draft proposal. The proposal also encourages service providers and professional users to develop codes of conduct detailing the information on data porting conditions.

Regarding future cooperation, Member States shall be designating single points of contact to cooperate with the Commission on the application of the Regulation. In addition a “Free Flow of Data Committee”, an examination committee within the procedure of comitology, will be established.

The draft proposal has now been submitted to the European Parliament and Council for review. The two co-legislators will prepare their respective positions.

The Commission is expected to present its initiative on Data to the public on Tuesday 19 September 2017.