The EDPS advises the EU institutions and bodies on data protection issues in a range of policy areas. His consultative role relates to proposals for new legislation, as well as soft law instruments (e.g. communications) that affect personal data protection in the EU. He also monitors new technologies that may have an impact on data protection. The objective is to ensure that the EU citizens' fundamental rights to protection of privacy and personal data are maintained, while society evolves.
One of the primary tasks of the EDPS is to examine the data protection and privacy impact of proposed new legislation. The EDPS Policy paper of 2005 elaborates on how this role is interpreted in terms of limitations in scope, working methods and main orientations. The EDPS uses different instruments in order to exercise this role.
The first instrument is a planning tool. Each year in December, the EDPS publishes an
of his priorities for the coming year. It lists the most relevant Commission proposals, which may require a formal reaction by the EDPS. Those proposals that are expected to have a strong impact on data protection are given high priority. This may also apply to research projects.
The second and most important instrument is the formal public
. By issuing opinions on a regular basis, the EDPS establishes a consistent policy on data protection issues. The opinions are addressed to those involved in the legislative negotiations, but also published on the website as well as in the Official Journal of the EU.
A third instrument of intervention is the EDPS
, which address data protection issues for instance in Commission communications.
A final instrument is the possibility to
in cases before the Court of Justice, the Court of First Instance and the Civil Service Tribunal.