Fines under the GDPR

CPDP 2017 Conference Book

18 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2018 Last revised: 16 Nov 2018

See all articles by Paul Nemitz

Paul Nemitz

European Commission; College of Europe, Brugge

Date Written: 2017


The introduction of substantial fines for infringements in Article 83 GDPR constitutes an important development of European data protection law. This article discusses the innovation in comparison to the previous directive, with a special emphasis on the inspiration the EU rules and practice of fining in Competition law contain for the fining under GDPR. It first sets out thoughts on the purpose of fines and the structure of Article 83 GDPR. Next it demonstrates how competition law is inspiring the fining rules under GDPR and why DPAs are under a general duty to impose fines. It then discusses considerations on the amounts of fines and the special case of Cumulation of infringements as well as the notion of "the undertaking", so important both in competition law and the GDPR. As a reminder of past incoherence rather than as a starting point for future fining practices, the article closes by reviewing the diversity of fines under the previous directive and ends with a call on the Data Protection Board to quickly establish a publicly accessible database on fines imposed by DPAs, in order to create the transparency necessary to ensure a coherent application of the GDPR across the European Union. In the conclusion, this Articles calls on DPAs to learn from Competition law and to acquire the skills necessary for rigorous fining bringing about the necessary deterrent effect.

Keywords: GDPR, Fines, Sanctions, Enforcement, Competitopn

Suggested Citation

Nemitz, Paul Friedrich, Fines under the GDPR (2017). CPDP 2017 Conference Book, Available at SSRN:

Paul Friedrich Nemitz (Contact Author)

European Commission ( email )

Rue de la Loi 200
Brussels, B-1049

College of Europe, Brugge ( email )

Dijver 11
B-8000 Brugge, Oost Vlanderen 10000

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