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Right to be forgotten: a fundamental right for European citizens

Question écrite de M. Carlo FIDANZA - Commission européenne


Subject: Right to be forgotten: a fundamental right for European citizens

According to Commission estimates, 12 million people in Europe have survived cancer, including 300 000 children. Given the progress made in medicine, that figure is set to grow.

In Europe, people who have had tumours continue to be denied access to financial credit services and insurance products. For that reason, some Member States, including France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania, have introduced legislation on the ‘right to be forgotten’, the purpose of which is to deny banks and insurance agencies the ability to collect information on their customers’ tumours once a certain number of years has passed since their onset. Work has even begun in Italy on legislation that also safeguards employment contracts and adoptions.

In Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the Commission has taken those practices a step further, proposing that a code of conduct for financial intermediaries be developed, to be expected in 2024.

Taking the above into account, can the Commission, within the limits of its powers, answer the following questions:

1. When the code of conduct takes proper effect, it will enable former cancer patients to access financial services free of discrimination throughout Europe. When does the Commission expect that to happen?

2. What practical steps does it plan to take to make the ‘right to be forgotten’ for cancer patients a fundamental right for all European citizens?

Submitted:12.7.2023

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 7 septembre 2023

Answer given by Ms Kyriakides on behalf of the European Commission

(8 September 2023)

According to the current policy framework provided through Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan (1), the main initiative the Commission will take forward in the area of fair access to financial services for cancer survivors is the development of an EU code of conduct.

The Commission with a contractor is working on the development of this code of conduct along with relevant stakeholders who are ultimately expected to endorse the code, including public authorities in the finance field, financial institutions, patients’ organisations, public health experts and cancer survivors.

Their active involvement aims at increasing the uptake of the ‘right to be forgotten’ for cancer survivors across the EU and provide a sound basis for the code. The work started in April 2023 and is expected to be finalised in the first quarter of 2024.

Following the adoption of the code of conduct and allowing for a sufficient time to monitor the code’s implementation, the Commission may further reflect on long-term solutions for potential ongoing challenges cancer survivors might face in this regard.

At the same time the Commission is welcoming initiatives being taken forward at national level ensuring fair treatment of cancer survivors in this and other areas.

The work on the code also aims at mapping and taking stock of the relevant EU legislation pertaining to the topic. The Commission welcomes the provisional political agreement reached between the European Parliament and the Council on the Consumer Credit Directive (2), introducing a provision to ensure equal access to insurances related to consumer credits for cancer survivors after a certain period following the end of their treatment.

1 ∙ ⸱ https://health.ec.europa.eu/non-communicable-diseases/cancer_en#europes-beating-cancer-plan

2 ∙ ⸱ https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2022/12/02/council-and-european-parliament-agree-to-improve-protection-for-consumers-applying-for-

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