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EDPS foresees smooth sailing for data protection…for Europe

By PATRICK STEPHENSON, with BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – On 4 May the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) released his 2016 Annual Report on the EU’s internal efforts to safeguard data privacy. Giovanni Buttarelli, the supervisor, declared that the EU is the “leading force on data protection in the world in the digital age,” and that Europeans should do more to be an example to third countries on how to regulate data collection.

But regarding US-EU relations under the administration of US President Donald Trump, he was not so sanguine. “Privacy seems to be not the top of their priorities,” he said, describing a position that could weigh heavily on efforts to…

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EU leaders’ decisions augur big developments for European defence policy, with wider implications for other sectors as well

By PATRICK STEPHENSON and BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – After decades of procrastination, national leaders at their 22-23 June summit here took decisions that now set the stage for the EU’s entry into the defence field, though any talk of an imminent “European” army is fantasy. Nonetheless, important policy proposals by the European Commission were approved. The member states themselves finally agreed to finance their diverse battlegroups to boost the EU’s common security and defence policy (CSDP), for example, while approving plans – far more radical – to allow self-selected EU countries to shift into “permanent structured cooperation” (PESCO) in defence. But these were just some of the approved measures. An interesting coda to these decisions will be their impact on the EU’s...