At the meeting on 4th December, the Council assessed progress and exchanged views on a proposal to update the ePR.
In the Council, key issues discussed in the working party this autumn have included permitted processing of electronic communications data, protection of terminal equipment information, the provision on privacy settings and supervisory authorities.
The Council acknowledged the importance of the ePR for the digital single market. Ministers broadly agreed that the latest (Austrian) presidency compromise proposal is a good basis for further work (the key points of the proposal are briefly summarised here; for the overall development you can also visit the ePR chronology).
Several delegations considered, however, that some additional work is needed in order to achieve a fully balanced text. To that effect, they stressed the need for the text to be aligned on the General Data Protection regulation.
The Council also reminded that the ePR is an essential part of the Digital single market for Europe strategy.
With the Austrian presidency almost reaching the end, it is obvious that the ePR will not be finalised (much less adopted) in 2018. It appears now unlikely that this regulation will be concluded before the next European elections in May 2019.
Even if the ePR were to be published in early 2019 (prior to the May elections), stakeholders are likely to be given a year (and maybe two as was the GDPR's case) to prepare before the ePR rules are enforced. It seems now that the earliest expectation for enforcement, therefore, is likely to be spring 2020, or even 2021.