“Thank you Mr Snowden,” says EU's Reding

Photo: Anouk Antony

(CS) EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding thanked Edward Snowden for raising awareness about data protection issues on Thursday, on the sidelines of a press conference on the future of a European Public Prosecutor's Office.

Reding was in Luxembourg for a meeting with the Grand Duchy's Justice Minister Octavie Modert to discuss the future of an EU Public Prosecutor's Office.

In July this year, European Commission president José Manuel Barroso had confirmed plans for a special prosecutor's office to fight crime affecting the EU's budget.

The office would be located in Luxembourg, which Modert called the “judicial capital of the EU.” The prosecutor's office could become operational as early as 2015, pending approval by all 28 member states.

However, Reding also addressed Luxembourg's support to create a “European space of justice.”

“With Minister Octavie Modert, and also her predecessor François Biltgen, we have been able to move forward on issues such as procedural rights, which today benefit citizens everywhere in the EU,” Reding added.

The Justice Commissioner is currently trying to raise support for a new European Commission data protection policy. An initial proposal was submitted to the EU Parliament in 2012, but a vote has been postponed several times and talks seem to have stalled.

The current directive dates back to 1995.

The NSA scandal, prompted by the revelations of Snowden have led to new momentum in the data protection debate, with possibly positive ripple effects for the EU directive.