The League of European Research Universities (LERU) expresses serious concern at amendments made by the European Parliament to the European General Data Protection Regulation. LERU calls upon the Council of Ministers to oppose the amendments that would be highly detrimental for scientific research, in particular amendments to Article 81 and Article 83.
In view of the upcoming Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on Friday 6 June, LERU wants to reiterate its rejection of the amendments adopted by the European Parliament´s LIBE (Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs) Committee on 21 October 2013. LERU urges the Council of Ministers to bring into the negotiations a position that duly respects the interests of the research community, in line with the European Commission´s original proposal of 25 January 2012.
As already expressed by a number of non-commercial research organisations and academics in a statement published by the Wellcome Trust in April 2014, health and scientific research will be threatened if the European Parliament´s amendments to Articles 81 and 83 to the Data Protection Regulation are taken forward. The restrictions introduced by these amendments will affect research using data concerning health but also data processing for historical, statistical or scientific research purposes. Therefore, scientific research as a whole would be seriously hampered. To preserve privacy, safeguards for the use of personal data already exist and introducing specific consent for the use of data will seriously hinder research to the point of making it impracticable. In view of the Partial General Approach on international transfers to be reached by the Ministers on Friday, LERU also opposes -just like the Wellcome Trust– LIBE´s amendment to Article 42(5), considering it detrimental to international research collaborations.
Prof Kurt Deketelaere, Secretary-General of LERU expresses his worries: “If the Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs are not able to undo these EP amendments (now or in trialogue) significant research projects and programs, including several funded and/or set up by the EC, will be at risk! Protection of privacy is justified of course, but it must not lead to measures which reach too far and will put European researchers in a clearly disadvantageous position compared to other researchers worldwide.”