EU Tightens Enforcement of GDPR: Higher Fines and Faster Resolutions Looming

Posted by Kevin Yun | May 14, 2024

The EU's landmark data protection legislation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), is about to get a significant boost in enforcement power. The European Parliament has voted to introduce amendments that aim to strengthen the GDPR's enforcement procedures, paving the way for higher fines and faster resolution of cross-border cases.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Key Amendments
  3. Impact on Businesses
  4. Reactions and Concerns
  5. Preparing for the Changes
  6. Conclusion


Since its implementation in 2018, the GDPR has been a game-changer for data protection and privacy rights across the European Union. However, despite its robust framework, the enforcement of the regulation has faced challenges, particularly in cases involving cross-border data processing. Recognizing these issues, the European Parliament has taken a significant step forward by voting on amendments that aim to strengthen the GDPR's enforcement procedures.

Key Amendments

The amendments introduced by the European Parliament cover several key areas, each designed to address specific challenges and improve the overall effectiveness of the GDPR's enforcement.

Empowering Supervisory Authorities

One of the crucial amendments allows supervisory authorities – the independent bodies established by each EU member state to oversee data protection – to request urgent binding decisions from the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) in cases of procedural disputes. This measure aims to resolve conflicts and ensure consistent enforcement across member states.

Additionally, supervisory authorities can now initiate ex officio investigations when they suspect potential GDPR violations affecting data subjects. This empowerment enables proactive enforcement, rather than relying solely on external complaints.

Expediting Cross-Border Disputes

To address the delays often experienced in cross-border cases, the amendments introduce stricter deadlines and extensions for lead supervisory authorities. If a lead authority cannot meet a deadline due to complex investigations, it can request an extension of up to nine months, but must provide detailed justifications, including facts, evidence, legal grounds, and the requested determination or deadline extension.

The EDPB, which plays a crucial role in ensuring consistent application of the GDPR, must decide on such requests within two weeks, and its determinations are binding. This streamlined process aims to prevent unnecessary delays and provide faster resolutions in cross-border disputes.

Enhancing Complainant Rights

While the Parliament voted to remove provisions that would have given complainant entities access to preliminary findings, there is a push to further strengthen complainants' rights in the enforcement process. Consumer advocates argue that complainants should have the opportunity to be heard in cases where data protection authorities disagree on a decision, ensuring their voices are considered.

Impact on Businesses

The amendments introduced by the European Parliament will have far-reaching implications for businesses operating within the EU's jurisdiction. Here are some key impacts:

Increased Fines and Penalties

With more stringent enforcement and the potential for higher fines, businesses will face greater pressure to comply with the GDPR's requirements. Failure to adhere to data protection regulations could result in significant financial consequences, making it imperative for organizations to prioritize data privacy and security.

Streamlined Enforcement

The expedited resolution of cross-border disputes and the empowerment of supervisory authorities will lead to more efficient enforcement processes. Businesses can expect faster resolutions and clearer guidance, enabling them to address compliance issues promptly and mitigate potential risks.

Greater Transparency

While the Parliament voted against giving complainants access to preliminary findings, there is a growing demand for increased transparency in the enforcement process. Businesses may face heightened scrutiny and be required to provide more detailed information to regulatory authorities, ensuring accountability and fostering trust among consumers.

Reactions and Concerns

The amendments have garnered mixed reactions from various stakeholders, with both industry representatives and consumer advocates voicing their perspectives.

Industry Perspectives

Laura Wiesenfeld, a policy manager at the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), expressed concerns that the amendments could undermine the GDPR's one-stop-shop mechanism, which allows businesses to deal primarily with a single supervisory authority. She also raised concerns about reduced confidentiality protections, restricted rights of investigated parties, and the potential for an adversarial enforcement process.

Constantin Gissler, the director general at DOT Europe, an association representing internet companies in Europe, criticized the Parliament for missing an opportunity to address GDPR enforcement shortcomings and streamline processes. He warned that the amendments could potentially undermine core GDPR concepts.

Consumer Advocates' Views

Ursula Pachl, the deputy director general of the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), welcomed the amendments as a step toward faster resolution of GDPR complaints. However, she emphasized the need for further improvements, such as providing more time for authorities to review decisions in cross-border cases and ensuring that complainants have the opportunity to be heard when authorities disagree.

Preparing for the Changes

As the amendments progress through the legislative process, businesses operating within the EU's jurisdiction must proactively prepare for the impending changes. Here are some key steps organizations can take:

  • Review and update data protection policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the GDPR's requirements.
  • Implement robust data governance frameworks and enhance security measures to safeguard personal data.
  • Train employees on data privacy best practices and ensure awareness of the potential consequences of non-compliance.
  • Monitor regulatory developments and stay informed about any updates or guidance from supervisory authorities.
  • Engage with legal and compliance experts to assess potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them.


The European Parliament's vote to strengthen the enforcement of the GDPR marks a significant milestone in the evolution of data protection and privacy rights within the EU. While the amendments aim to address existing challenges and improve the efficiency of cross-border enforcement, they also highlight the need for businesses to prioritize compliance and proactively address data privacy concerns.

As the legislative process unfolds, organizations must remain vigilant and adapt to the changing landscape, fostering a culture of data protection and transparency. By embracing these changes and aligning with the GDPR's principles, businesses can not only mitigate risks but also build trust with consumers and position themselves as responsible stewards of personal data in an increasingly data-driven world.

Make your life stress free with ComplyDog. Get started today and be GDPR compliant in no time.

Choose the easy way to become GDPR compliant

Start your 14-day free trial of ComplyDog today. No credit card required.

Trusted by B2B SaaS businesses

Blink High Attendance Requestly Encharge Wonderchat