Member States need more time on ePrivacy

Several Member States send a strong message to the Austrian Presidency of the Council, that the ePrivacy file is not yet ready for negotiations with the European Parliament.

Early November, the Austrian presidency of the Council decided to move up the ePrivacy file on the agenda for political discussion prior to an adoption in Council. This move is likely to have been the response to the intense pressure of the European Commission and the European Parliament prior to the European elections to take place in May 2019.

Many Member States did not support that move and urged the Austrians to remove the file from political discussions. Several countries have called for the removal of the text from the agenda, arguing that many provisions of the proposal still require discussions and compromises. This position has been supported by the industry, including FEDMA, as provisions on browser settings, cookie wall and direct marketing still remain to be further discussed, or reopened.

As a result, the Austrian Presidency has removed the text from the agenda of the Coreper meeting. The next telecom Council to take place on the 4th of December, will not be asked to agree on the ePrivacy text. Instead, a general exchange of views between ministers will take place, and the Austrians prepared a progress report, summarising their work on the Privacy over the last 6 month. The file will then be transferred to Romania, which will take up the Presidency of the Council on the 1st of January 2019 for 6 month.

Despite the tremendous pressure that the European Commission will put on the Romanian Presidency, this last few days development supports the idea that the ePrivacy will not be adopted prior to the European elections.