mlex market insight: EU Parliament’s ‘red tape’ watchdog targets privacy law

A new group of center-right members of the European Parliament is on a mission to cut legislative red tape and plans to scrutinize new data-protection rules as a priority.

The group’s leadership includes several technology heavyweights from the assembly’s European People’s Party, or EPP, including Paul Rübig, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Michał Boni and Antonio Tajani.

The formation of the group (see here), dubbed “Red Tape Watch,” was announced today and coincides with the appointment of a new European Commission vice president, Frans Timmermans, whose role will be to ensure new pan-European laws are drafted only where strictly necessary. It also comes in the wake of EU parliamentary elections that saw euroskeptics making inroads amid perceptions of excessive Brussels bureaucracy.

Markus Pieper, who chairs the 40-member group, said that new data-protection rules “will also create bureaucracy for [small- and medium-sized enterprises].”

“If we regulate banks or energy markets, this induces costs for SMEs,” he added in a statement announcing the new group. “All these are examples of where we want to act.”

The group has targeted information technology legislation as one of its priorities.

“In this new legislative period, we finally have to take the gloves off and make sure that new EU law focuses on what is really essential,” Pieper said. “Too detailed regulation is a barrier to economic growth.”

The EPP is the largest political group in the European Parliament, and includes incoming Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. In the new commission, 14 of the 28 members are drawn from the EPP, including three of the vice presidents tasked with coordinating legislation in fields such as economic growth.

Austrian Paul Rübig and Spanish Pilar Del Castillo Vera are returning parliamentarians who have led the drafting of major laws on telecom and technology.

Michał Boni, Poland’s former minister for digital affairs, has signaled he will remain active in this area.

Antonio Tajani of Italy, a former EU industry chief, has also had extensive experience fields such as standardization and industrial policy.

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