Brussels, 14 July - Following the commitments set out in its Vienna Statement on Enforcement Cooperation, the EDPB adopted a set of criteria to assess whether a cross-border case may qualify as a case of “strategic importance” for closer cooperation. The Board also adopted a procedure detailing the steps to be taken following identification of a strategic case. In addition, the EDPB selected the very first pilot cases to test this project.
EDPB Chair Andrea Jelinek said: “The criteria for strategic cases are an important piece of the puzzle we’re laying to step up enforcement cooperation. At the EDPS conference in June, several scenarios were discussed to overcome current shortcomings and we want to take advantage of the general momentum for the path taken by the EDPB in Vienna: greater harmonisation of procedural laws and intensifying cooperation. This will help Supervisory Authorities (SAs) enforce the GDPR more efficiently, ultimately benefiting and empowering individuals to exercise their data protection rights.”
Cases of strategic importance are primarily one-stop-shop cases which are likely to entail a high risk to the rights and freedoms of data subjects in several EEA Member States. In order to identify a case of strategic importance, one or more of the following criteria should be taken into account:
- a structural or recurring problem in several Member States, in particular where the case concerns a general legal issue with regards to the interpretation, application or enforcement of the GDPR;
- a case related to the intersection of data protection and other legal fields;
- and a case which affects a large number of data subjects in several Member States;
- a case involving a large number of complaints in several Member States;
- a case concerning a fundamental issue falling within the scope of the EDPB strategy;
- a case where the GDPR implies that a high risk can be assumed, such as:
- the processing of special categories of data;
- processing regarding vulnerable people such as minors;
- Situations where a data protection impact assessment (DPIA) is required.
Within the framework of the EDPB, SAs can propose any case that meets at least one of the criteria to other SAs. The Members of the Board will then decide which of the proposed cases will be identified as a case of strategic importance at European level.
Following identification, cooperation will be prioritised and supported by the EDPB. Participation is voluntary and all SAs are allowed to submit proposals. In particular, SAs will exchange information and cooperate closely at an early stage. The handling of cases of strategic importance will also take place in accordance with the procedures and instruments for achieving cooperation and consistency between SAs, as laid down in Chapter VII of the GDPR. In line with the criteria outlined above, the EDPB agreed on three pilot cases to kick-start the project.
Note to editors:
At a high level meeting in Vienna in May 2022, EDPB members agreed to further enhance cooperation on strategic cases, and to diversify the range of cooperation methods used. In particular, it was decided that EDPB members will collectively identify cross-border cases of strategic importance in different Member States on a regular basis, for which cooperation will be prioritised and supported by the EDPB. More information can be found in the EDPB’s Statement on Enforcement Cooperation.