Romania risks EU fine over Big Brother law

Romania risks being sanctioned by the European Union’s Court of Justice unless it gives an answer, by April 26, to a supplementary notice that the European Commission sent at the end of March, on account of its failure to include in its national legislation the directive concerning data storage, a communiqué issued by EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom’s press bureau informs. The Lower Chamber’s plenum decided on Tuesday to send the law on storing the data generated or processed by public internet and telephone service providers back to the juridical commission. At the request of UDMR MP Marton Arpad, the draft law was sent back to the commission for a supplementary report. “I asked for the draft law to be sent back to the commission because the draft that came from the commission contained new elements compared to the one filed by the government. These amendments brought by the commission modify the very criminal prosecution code currently in force, as well as the one we want to adopt. We’re talking about who can have access to the stored information and how. According to Constitutional regulations and the laws in force, this can be done with the judge’s approval or in other circumstances the approval of the prosecutor, but the commission’s draft does not spell this out,” Marton Arpad stated. On October 27, 2011, the European Commission sent Romania a reasoned opinion (the second stage in infringement proceedings), asking it to fall in line with EU norms within two months’ time by implementing the directive in its national legislation. “Nevertheless, Romanian authorities did not send any information about the date when the new legislation will come into force,” Commissioner Malmstrom’s press bureau pointed out. “On March 22, 2012, the Commission sent Romania a supplementary reasoned opinion concerning the data storage directive, asking it to act in order to make sure it is fully in line with the directive and formally warning it that fines could be issued,” the communiqué adds. The Commission also explains that the supplementary reasoned opinion sent on March 22 “explicitly mentions the possibility that the Court of Justice may adopt sanctions against Romania if this country does not includes the directive (in its national legislation – editor’s note)” and if the next step in the infringement proceedings – bringing the case before the Court – is adopted.

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