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EU Political Update

Talking Tech Highlights: 19-23 December 2016

27 April 2017

A weekly review of tech related political developments in the European Union

Week in Review

Justice: European Commission seeks to improve enforcement of EU law by Member States

On 13 December 2016, the Commission published a Communication in which it sets out how it intends to improve the application, implementation, and enforcement of EU law.

The Commission has proposed an enforcement system comprising of the following: (i) making sure that Member States enforce the rules; (ii) focusing the Commission's enforcement on those cases where it makes a substantial difference, and stepping up financial sanctions for Member States when they fail to transpose Directives on time; and (iii) raising citizens' and businesses' awareness of their rights.

The Commission will work with Member States in order to ensure the correct transposition, application, and implementation of EU laws. For instance, the Commission will set up dialogues, networks, and exchanges of best practices with national authorities, courts, and the European Network of Ombudsmen. It will also focus on dealing with breaches of EU law quickly and at an early stage, and will impose financial sanctions for any breaches by Member States.

Antitrust: European Commission releases its seventh report on the monitoring of patent settlements

On 13 December 2016, the Commission published its seventh report on the monitoring of patent settlements between pharmaceutical companies, covering the period from January-December 2015.

The Commission has monitored patent settlements between originator and generic companies since its sector inquiry in 2008 in order to identify settlements that delay generic entry, possibly in violation of competition law. The report is based on replies from 58 'originator' and 50 'generic' companies to a request to submit a copy of all patent-settlement agreements. In its report, the Commission's concludes that most of the settlements (90% in 2015) fall into categories that prima facie raise no concerns under competition law.

Digital Single Market: European Commission adopts 'fair use policy' to facilitate abolition of roaming surcharges

On 15 December 2016, the Commission adopted the implementing Regulation laying down the detailed rules (i) on the application of the 'fair use policy'; (ii) on the methodology for assessing the sustainability of the abolition of retail roaming surcharges, and (iii) on the application to be submitted by a roaming provider for the purposes of that assessment.

The 'fair use policy' aims to prevent abusive or anomalous usage of regulated retail roaming services by roaming customers, for instance, the use of such services on a permanent basis. The Regulation will enter into force on 6 January 2017.

Security: European Commission opens new in-house data centre in Luxembourg

On 12 December 2016, the Commission opened its new data centre in Betzdorf, Luxembourg. The move is expected to enhance the Commission's IT infrastructures, improve security and reliability of its IT systems as well as reducing business continuity risks.

The new data centre will house over 1,400 information systems such as the pan-European systems supporting the Single Market, climate policy, and structural funds. It will also house the Commission's internal administrative systems, such as financial and HR systems. The data centre will be enhanced by cloud services.

This week in the Institutions 
European Commission 

19 December 

  • Vice-President Andrus Ansip and Commissioner Vĕra Jourová will receive representatives of industry and business associations to discuss implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation and the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield

20 December 

  • Commissioner Günther Oettinger will receive representatives of the future competent national Network and Information Security (NIS) authorities.
  • Commissioner Oettinger will receives representatives of BURDA on Regulation of online platforms and free flow of data.
  • Commissioner Oettinger will receive members of the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC). 
  • Commissioner Christos Stylianides will receive Mr Carlo d'Asaro Biondo, President of Strategic Relationships of Google in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
EU Political Update

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