Bulgarian President Roumen Radev said on February 4 that he has vetoed amendments to Bulgaria’s personal data protection law, which were meant to transpose the European Union’s general data protection regulation (GDPR).
The provision targeted by the veto is the same one that raised concerns during the public discussion of the draft stage, namely the article that lists 10 criteria regarding the use of personal data for “journalistic purposes and the purposes of academic, artistic or literary expression.”
Radev said that GDPR specifically instructed EU member states to balance the right to personal data protection with freedom of speech, without one infringing on the other.
But the criteria in the Bulgarian law created “over-regulation” and imposed limitations on the freedom of speech and information in favour of personal data protection.
“My worry is that under the guise of criteria for proportionate personal data protection, basic constitutional freedoms are being limited. The real public effect of such a list would reflect on those exercising the freedom to express an opinion and information, regardless of whether their behaviour is subject to administrative or judicial proceedings,” Radev said in his veto motives.
“This would make the behaviour of journalists, writers and scientists too predictable and in line with the law, but not always in the interest of truth. As a result of this legislative decision, the losing side would be the entire society,” Radev said.
He called on Parliament to hold an in-depth discussion of this provision, in order to “dispel any doubts that European legislation is being used as a pretext to pass unacceptable measures that will erode the trust of Bulgarian citizens in European values.”
Radev’s veto is his first for this year and his thirteenth since taking office just over two years ago. All but one of his vetoes have been overturned by Parliament.
(Bulgarian President Roumen Radev photo: president.bg)