Cyber-bullying which aims to harass and disseminate false statements about the victims has assumed epidemic proportions. Although it is not a specific criminal offence in the penal codes of most Member States, Article 16 TFEU provides for the possibility of laying down rules relating to the protection of personal data in respect of all activities which fall within the scope of Union law.

In view of the above, will the Commission say:
1. Will it take a legislative initiative and coordinated measures to address the problem of cyber-bullying?
2. How can Member States be encouraged to agree on common legislative options, as part of the harmonisation of their laws, in order to safeguard personal data as a specific aspect of the right to protection of the personality, as specifically enshrined in Article 8 of the Charter Fundamental Rights and in the Lisbon Treaty?

Answer given by Ms Jourová on behalf of the Commission

The European Commission condemns cyber bullying. The Commission would like to refer the Honourable Member to its answers to questions E-010100/2014, E-009775/2013 and E-006714/2014 on its ongoing programmes against cyber bullying.

As regards the protection of personal data, the General Data Protection Reform(1) proposed by the Commission on the basis of Article 16 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union will strengthen individuals' rights: it includes the right to be forgotten and it promotes data protection by design and by default. The reform is a key element for the completion of the Digital Single Market. In light of this, the European Council stressed, in October 2013 and again in June 2014, how crucial it is to ‘adopt a strong EU General Data Protection framework by 2015’. Meeting that deadline by ensuring the swift adoption of the EU data protection reform is also a priority of Commissioner Jourová in line with the political guidelines of President Juncker.

(1) COM(2012) 11.