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The GDPR is very similar to the old Data Protection Directive, which came into force in 1995. Many member states had done a piss-poor job of implementing and enforcing the DPD, which was largely the motivation for passing the GDPR. Directives have to be transposed into national law by individual member states, while regulations are immediately applicable across the entire Union.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_Protection_Directive






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