‘Right to be forgotten’ – Google case

Kamil Augustyniak


The Court of Justice of the European Union stated (Case C-131/12) that every EU Citizen has right to protect his/her private information that can be removed from search engine results if it is ‘inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant’.

Globalization, technological progress and flow of information are, surely, the major advantages of contemporary world. Everyone can search an information in the Internet and find private data about his/her neighbors. In numerous cases we do not mind the information about us is commonly available because we posted it by ourselves. Everything is good till we can control what others read about us. The difficulty starts when the information appears without our knowledge or offend us somehow.

In response to cyber-world

On 25th January 2012, Viviane Reding (the European Commission Vice-President responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship) proposed a new document – General Data Protection Regulation – that would be an amended EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. In order to avoid breaching peoples’ privacy in cyberspace more efficiently than before, the document has to be transformed and catch up 21st century.That what distinguish a new suggested document will be a possibility to ask service providers to delete the personal data from a particular web-page or a list of results that is displayed following a search made on the basis of consumer’s name. When such request is reasonable, the links containing that information must be removed, unless applicant is a public person and the free access to a particular information is justified.

Personal data protection dispute: Google Spain v Mario Costeja González

In 2010 Mario Costeja González, a Spanish national, complaint against La Vanguardia Ediciones SL (the publisher of a daily newspaper with a large circulation in Spain) and Google Inc. The applicant found that after putting his name in search engine, the results display links to pages relating to La Vanguardia’s newspaper from 1998. The articles included an announcementabout real-estate auction for recovery of social security debts owed by Mr Costeja González. The two possible solutions of this dispute were proposed by applicant to each subject. The newspaper either removes or alters the page so that the applicant’s name will not appear anymore. Similarly with Google, personal details will be removed or covered in order to protect Mr Costeja González private interest. After all, the Spanish Data Protection Agency rejected the request against La Vanguardia because all these information has been published lawfully. However, the complaint against Google was upheld and requested to remove personal data from their index. As a result, the Google company appeal to Spanish National High Court which referred several questions to the Court of Justice of the EU that ruled that Mr Mario Costeja González has right to ask for such removal.

What Google says?goog

In view of Google company the decision is described as disappointing. People will tend to overuse this right to feel better. If they do not like the information, they will ask for removal and no legal oversight will be necessary to succeed. Failing to comply with the regulation will cause high fines.

Supranational effect

From the perspective of an ordinary citizen the changes are essential due to the fact that nobody in the Internet is anonymous so that faked information will disappear irretrievably. The EU legislation entered the higher level by readjusting problems of contemporary world. Since the judgment is officially approved, the new policy has to be transferred into all Member States’ laws, according to the rule of primacy of the EU law.

Read the judgment and official opinion:


Read more about the primacy of the EU law over the laws of the Member States: https://europensblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/roots-of-primacy-of-the-eu-law-over-the-laws-of-member-states/

In view of May elections: European Parliament explained

Emil Wojtaluk

European Parliament, Brussels ©EUROpens BLOG

European Parliament, Brussels ©EUROpens BLOG

The European Parliament elections are getting closer and closer, so that’s why it is good to ask yourself a questions what really is the European Parliament and how it works. Although I won’t go into details like the history of this institution because you can find relevant information in the Internet on your own. The goal is to provide you with the most important facts and figures and present the topic in a different way.

A brief insight

The European Parliament is the only body within the European Union which is directly elected by the citizens of the EU. It debates the proposals from the Commission and can amend them. Together with the Council of Ministers adopts EU laws. EP lays in the so called legislative triangle along with the European Commission and the Council of the EU(Council of Ministers). The most important task of this institution is legislation. Since the adoption of Lisbon Treaty it is also allowed to initiate law drafts directly, which makes democratic process more transparent. Another task is connected with EU budget adoption, but it has to be just partially agreed to the Commission. What is more, the overall control of EU activities is also one of its duties. If you ask about headquarters of the European Parliament the official seat is Strasbourg(France) but is has two other places to work: Brussels(Belgium) and Luxembourg. Plenary sessions take place in Strasbourg 12 times per year, additional 

plenary sessions and committee meetings are held in Brussels. A short description of its essence would be that EP represents the people of the EU whose employees(MEP’s) are directly elected by EU citizens. But how they get elected? The answer comes next… 

Our editorial board in the European Parliament (Brussels 2014) ©EUROpens BLOG

Members of the European Parliament – those who we’ll vote for

The abbreviation MEP stands for Member of the European Parliament, that is the full name, in some member states shortened to “eurodeputy” or other similar terms. How it looks like when it comes to the elections? Well, in each member state national parties appoints their own candidates but there could be also not affiliated candidates – it means such a candidate doesn’t represent any of political parties. It gets more complicated in the European Parliament where national parties decide what political group they will join out of 7 (e.g. European Peoples Party or Greens). The elections itself are held every 5 years. How do we know how many members there can be? Currently, after Croatian accession we have 766 MEP’s but this number has to be decreased due to changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, which are as follows:

  • Maximum number of MEP’s will be 750 + its President(without the right to vote)

  • Maximum number of MEP’s from one country: 96

  • Minimal number of MEP’s from one country which is 6

Due to those changes 12 countries will lose 1 deputy, except for Germany which will lose 3 seats and the number of its MEP’s will be reduced from 99 to 96.

But how is it so that one country has more MEP’s than another? It is up to each Member State how the voting procedures will look like, except rules like proportional representation, direct universal suffrage and degressive proportionality. The last one means that the more population a member state has, the more seats it will get as a result of the elections. For instance, Germany is the most populous state in the EU so it will get 96 (maximum) seats, while Malta will get 6 of them because it’s the smallest state in population.

Money, money, money…

Inside the EP ©EUROpens BLOG

One of the most frequently asked questions is how much an MEP earn? The rules are clearly specified from 2005 in the Statute for Members of the European Parliament. The amount of the MEP’s salary is set at 38,5% of the basic salary of a judge at the Court of Justice of the EU. Currently it is 6 250€ after tax + general expenditure allowance (e.g. office management costs) set at 4 299€. Additionally, every deputy gets special diet 305€/daily when in official business like a plenary session of the Parliament, the Commission or political group meeting. Let’s assume there was 10 meetings like this and as a result MEP will get 3 050€. There are also annual travel allowances for bearing the costs of transport at maximum 4 243€ per year.

Staff arrangements costs that can be connected with hiring assistants also exists. MEP’s has a right to chose its staff(except family members) but the EP pays them, non of these money goes directly to MEP’s. It is fixed at 21 209€ per month.

Let’s vote!



European Parliament gets more and more importance in EU institutional system and not voting at all weakens its possibilities and decrease its potential. Abandoning your right to vote will not lead to change and as a result the mandates will go to wrong, less qualified people. Do you want to be represented by someone who do not know any foreign language or do not know how to act properly, thinking only about his money? I guess no. So be smart and go to the European Parliament Elections (22-25 May), use your right to vote this month. Remember, if you do not vote, you don’t have any right to complain!

Read more:




Ten years like one day

Anita Weprzędz


On 1st of May we were celebrating 10th anniversary of Polish accession to the European Union. Everybody asks: „Is this our success or failure?” Answer for this question is not obvious and probably this ten years is too small amount of time to receive it. But we could find some interesting figures and data which help us imagine how many changes happened.

Over twenty years ago Poland submitted formal application for the membership in the European Union. After negotiations and fulfilling established conditions Poland and nine other countries on 1st of May 2004 became a part of the European Union. On that day, with nice weather, everything seems to be the same. Surely we have some celebrations but we could not notice some big changes which just started to happen.

When we looked at economical data it is easy to see big transformation in Polish economy. For example unemployment was reduced from 19,5 % to 13,5 %, evidently we have few factors which determine lower rate of unemployment and our accession to the European Union caused most of them. One, which we might count as an unsuccessful attempt, is that 1,8 million people migrate to other Member States. Open borders which gave an opportunity to find work and some prosperity attracted big number of Poles. Another interesting data are that our GPD grew almost twice or that average wage increased from 2,2 thousand Polish zlotys to over 4 thousand – so improvement of the economic conditions is palpable. The average salary shot up and GDP per person in 2004 was 50% of the EU average. Our Ministry of Finance estimates that already in 2017 it will be 74% of the average. It gives us hope and sound really nice.

More often commented changes were connected with infrastructure because of data about length of expressways and highways – in 2004 we had only 765 km of 2847 km which we have now. We could read some opinions and questions, for example: „why Polish highways are more expensive than Germans?” but uncontested thing is that most of it is built with the help of the European Union founds. Whole Poland became one big construction site and without our accession that propably would not be possible.

But not everything is perfect. Through this ten years our public debt also rose almost twice. Our decision to take some money from OFE effect that now public debt equals 732 billions. Another problem which must me be solved in a close future is Polish women’s fertility which in 2004 euquals 1,4 and decreased to 1,33 in 2014. Poland is country which was placed at the one of last places in the world in case of women’s fertility. That might have huge consequences in future.

Many of us ask themselves how everything might look like if we were not member of the European Union but we are not able to find other country which we could compare to Poland. In my opinion there is one sure thing, without European Union we could not meet some challenges and face them. Entering to the European Union gave Poland needed impetus to develop.

In our city we have some anniversary celebrations and there you have some pictures from that event. You could see how Lublin enjoys 10 years in the European Union.



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