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Ciamba: We concluded first file of Romania's EU Council Presidency, regarding personal data protection

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George Ciamba

"We concluded the first trilogue of Romania's Presidency (...) and it is important as it is a file regarding personal data protection," Minister-delegate for European Affairs George Ciamba said in Strasbourg on Wednesday.

"We concluded the first trilogue of Romania's Presidency, therefore we had a provisional interinstitutional agreement among the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament. It is important as it is a file regarding personal data protection. It is a modification of a regulation aimed at funding political parties and foundations, but in fact it is aimed at personal data protection, in the sense that a political party isn't allowed to request an operators a certain type of action entailing the fact that the latter makes available data that are not submitted to the protection provided by the GDPR directive," George Ciamba said at the European Parliament, at a meeting with Romanian journalists.

In respect to the cases concerned with the improper use of personal data, the minister pointed out that "there are some cases," but he doesn't think there has ever been one in Romania.

"There is the discussion related to Cambridge Analytica and there are two issues here. What Cambridge Analytica has done, the fact that it used commercial data which it transformed into a politically sold product. But there have been political forces, foundations, EU exiting campaigns that used the services of a firm that had this type of approaches. Also, there are some obligations in this directive, including that of notifying the authorities in charge of data protection if such phenomena are noticed, and, of course, the electoral authorities," the minister explained.

The file will then go to the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER), and then be adopted as a point A on the agenda in the first format of the EU Council.

"To us, it was important that the elections are coming up and we want to do everything possible so these elections have an as high as possible protection level. In some way, it is also related to the confidence of the citizen in a fair electoral process," George Ciamba said.

The minister also pointed out that "there has also been a tripartite interest" to agree on regulations that "should be in force during the elections."

Last but not least, the Minister-delegate for European Affairs pointed out he came in person for concluding this file, which was finalised at the highest level.

"We have the interest to conclude and it was important that I came especially for this trilogue, because on a regular basis there is no need for a minister to be present for this kind of topics, and on the other side, First Vice President Frans Timmermans was present on behalf of the Commission," George Ciamba also said.

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