The European Small Business Alliance participated in the Data Protection roundtable organised by the Working Group Mittelstand of the German CDU/CSU delegation in the European Parliament's EPP Group (PKM Europe). The roundtable focused on the impact on SMEs of the General Data Protection Regulation, currently being negotiated in the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). Under the auspices of shadow rapporteur Axel Voss MEP and Markus Ferber MEP, the participants assessed the burden on small businesses that this new Regulation could realise. The participants discussed the excessive documentation requirements, in particular whether less stringent safeguard measures could achieve the same goal of consumer protection. All parties agreed on further cooperation, with the aim of establishing a high level of protection for consumers, without hampering the freedom of companies to pursue legitimate business interests.
ESBA Secretary General Patrick Gibbels:
The key word in the LIBE negotiations should be 'balance'. If properly calibrated, the Regulation will enhance both the protection of consumers, will harmonise the playing field and will ensure legal certainly for businesses. This can all be achieved without putting undue burdens on Europe's smallest businesses. A proper distinction needs to be made between businesses that are using data as an ancillary activity and businesses that process data as a core activity. There is no need to overburden non data-driven businesses with documentation requirements, impact assessments and the requirement to designate data protection officers. These measures would impose heavy costs on businesses, both financial and in terms of labour. In light of the current business climate, the LIBE Committee needs to take its responsibility.