The matter of data protection regulation has been addressed in a workshop at the last WCE in Edinburgh and the impact that the EU proposal may have on the epidemiologists current work has been debated in some recent papers. The opportunity of harmonising data protection procedures among EU countries has been underlined by some researchers while others have considered that until the European Directive can be transformed into an instrument that explicitly facilitates public health research, the best existing research frameworks must be protected.
The final version of the new proposal by the European Commission (available at http://ec.europa.eu/justice/newsroom/data-protection/news/120125_en.htm) brings back to the level of Member States much of the actual regulatory procedures, which would have the advantage of preserving arrangements favourable to epidemiological research in those countries that have adopted them, at the same time leaving open the issue of inter-country harmonisation.
The EEF intends to develop this debate and it is planning to do it on the occasion of the next two upcoming regional conferences. National societies have been invited to collect ideas and experiences in their countries and report the debate, controversies and proposals.
Adele Seniori Constantini, Regional Area Councillor (Europe)