GDPR : Article 75 - Secretariat

by Sneha Naskar

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), enacted in May 2018, ushered in a new era of data protection and privacy regulation, reshaping how organizations worldwide handle personal data. Amid the GDPR's extensive provisions, Article 75 is often relegated to the shadows, yet its significance is profound. This blog post embarks on a comprehensive exploration of Article 75 of the GDPR, unraveling its intricate components, highlighting its paramount importance, and examining its broader implications for data protection and privacy.

The Secretariat's Role and Functions

Article 75: Secretariat - A Multifaceted Examination

Article 75 of the GDPR, although frequently overshadowed, serves as the linchpin for the practical application and robust enforcement of the GDPR's provisions. This pivotal article establishes the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) Secretariat, a supporting structure that underpins the EDPB's operations.

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB)

To truly appreciate the role and significance of the Secretariat, it is essential to begin with a firm understanding of the EDPB itself. The EDPB is an autonomous entity established under the GDPR's umbrella, charged with the weighty responsibility of ensuring the uniform and consistent application of data protection rules across the diverse landscape of the European Union (EU). Its mandate encompasses the provision of crucial guidance, rendering decisions on intricate cross-border data processing issues, and fostering a closely-knit partnership with national data protection authorities (DPAs). The EDPB, therefore, stands as the lighthouse guiding the EU's collective data protection journey.

The Secretariat's Role and Functions

Article 75 provides a comprehensive blueprint for the Secretariat's multifaceted role and functions, encompassing the following pivotal aspects:

  • Administrative Support: At its core, the Secretariat serves as the administrative backbone of the EDPB. This role encompasses organizing and overseeing meetings, maintaining meticulous records, and ensuring that the channels of communication among EDPB members and stakeholders run seamlessly.
  • Facilitating Cooperation with National DPAs: One of the cornerstone responsibilities of the Secretariat is to facilitate robust cooperation between the EDPB and national DPAs. This encompasses the coordination of joint activities, such as investigations and the development of comprehensive guidelines, fostering the consistent application of data protection laws throughout the EU.
  • Maintaining a Public Register: The Secretariat assumes the crucial duty of maintaining a public register housing decisions, opinions, and other pertinent documents generated by the EDPB. This publicly accessible repository is instrumental in upholding accountability and granting stakeholders unfettered access to the EDPB's body of work.
  • A Central Hub for Communication: In an era characterized by the relentless evolution of digital technologies, effective communication stands as the lifeblood of harmonizing data protection practices. The Secretariat functions as a pivotal hub for the exchange of information between the EDPB, national DPAs, the European Commission, and the general public, ensuring timely responses to emerging data protection challenges.

Composition and Operation

Article 75 not only outlines the pivotal functions of the Secretariat but also delves into its composition and operational intricacies:

  • Comprehensive Staffing: The article stipulates that the Secretariat should encompass a head and an adequate number of staff members. This comprehensive staffing approach ensures that the Secretariat possesses the human resources necessary to carry out its multifaceted responsibilities effectively.
  • Head Appointed by EDPB: Crucially, the head of the Secretariat is appointed by the European Data Protection Board (EDPB). This appointment mechanism bolsters the Secretariat's independence and autonomy, safeguarding it from undue external influence. This independence is essential to ensure that the Secretariat's activities are conducted in a principled and impartial manner.
  • Operational Independence: Operating independently, the head of the Secretariat is empowered to make operational decisions within the framework of the GDPR and the EDPB's rules of procedure. This autonomy is vital in assuring that the Secretariat conducts its activities in strict alignment with the principles of data protection enshrined in the GDPR.
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The Profound Significance of the Secretariat

While the Secretariat may appear as a peripheral component within the GDPR, its role is nothing short of indispensable in the realization of the GDPR's objectives. Several compelling reasons underline the Secretariat's significance:

  • Administrative Efficiency: The intricate nature of the GDPR necessitates the presence of efficient administrative support to ensure the seamless functioning of the EDPB. The Secretariat shoulders the responsibility of managing the logistical aspects of the EDPB's work, allowing its members to devote their energies to their core responsibilities.
  • Ensuring Consistency in Decision-Making: A fundamental tenet of the GDPR is the uniformity of data protection decisions and actions across the EU. The Secretariat plays an instrumental role in ensuring that decisions and opinions emanating from the EDPB exhibit a high degree of harmony, thereby engendering legal certainty for organizations and individuals
  • Fostering Cooperation in Cross-Border Data Processing: In an interconnected world characterized by cross-border data processing, the Secretariat's role in facilitating collaboration between the EDPB and national DPAs is of paramount importance. It provides the much-needed mechanism for addressing the challenges posed by international data transfers and intricate data processing operations.
  • Ushering in Legal Certainty: The consistency in EDPB decisions, bolstered by the Secretariat's support, equips organizations with a clear understanding of their data protection obligations. This legal certainty serves as a lodestar for compliance with the GDPR's rigorous requirements.
  • Promoting Accountability and Transparency: The Secretariat's stewardship of a public register ensures that the EDPB's activities are characterized by transparency and accessibility. Stakeholders, whether individuals or organizations, are empowered to hold the EDPB accountable for its decisions and actions.


Article 75 of the GDPR, the cornerstone for the establishment of the Secretariat within the European Data Protection Board, is an often-overlooked yet integral element of the regulation. The Secretariat's multifaceted role, spanning administrative support, cooperation facilitation, transparency enhancement, and communication hub functions, represents a vital cog in the machinery of data protection and privacy within the European Union.

In a world characterized by the ubiquitous collection and processing of personal data, the EDPB and its Secretariat emerge as vigilant custodians of individuals' rights and personal information, ensuring that organizations and authorities diligently fulfill their obligations under the GDPR. A comprehensive comprehension of Article 75 is imperative for anyone seeking to navigate the complexities of data protection and privacy regulation within the EU effectively.

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