WELCOME TO EUROPE DECIDES » INSIGHTS INTO POLITICS, ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS IN EUROPE, FROM BURSON-MARSTELLER EMEA

Did the Facebook saga prove the EU right on privacy?

In the wake of the Facebook data scandal, the European Union is looking prophetic. The EU’s long-planned tech privacy rules, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force next month, amid a global furore over how personal information can be manipulated. It is a rare moment when regulators in Brussels are hailed for their foresight – not just by politicians across Europe, but also in US by lawmakers on Capitol Hill and tech giants in Silicon Valley.

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What to expect in the year before Brexit

Theresa May has enjoyed a remarkable resurgence as British Prime Minister in recent weeks. She has secured an agreement with the other 27 European Union members on a Brexit transition period, her EU and NATO partners followed her lead in punishing Russia over a nerve agent attack, and she appears to have headed off Conservative Party rivals for her job – at least for the moment. She is on a roll and is at last getting the credit she is due, Downing Street tells us.

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A tit-for-tat trade war would hurt everyone

The United States used to champion free trade. US President John F Kennedy would say that, “a rising tide lifts all boats” but the current occupant of the White House, President Donald Trump, takes a different view. However, with Europe and the US poised to trigger a trade war, there are huge risks for business and jobs.

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Why the EU’s budget must be both bigger and better

While the European Union has a proud record in keeping the peace amongst its members, it always feels like hostilities are breaking out again when it’s time to talk about the budget. There were already signs of mounting tension when EU leaders gathered in Brussels for their summit on February 23, with battle lines forming over the next big budget fight. As the leaders argue about how to fill the hole left by the departing British, they will have to answer existential questions about how they want to spend their money after 2020.

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Europe at centre of unpredictable Italian elections

“We have to brace ourselves for the worst scenario and the worst scenario could be no operational government.” This was European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s warning ahead of the Italian elections, taking place this Sunday (4 March) – even if he was later forced to retract his comment, tweeting: “Italy remains a central player in Europe and in defining its future”.

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Can Europe lead in clean energy and beat energy poverty?

Whether it means pulling on a woollen jumper, wearing gloves, or cranking up the heating, the winter months usually prompt small changes in our day-to-day behaviour. But for some people, the cold can’t be beaten with just another layer of clothing. More than one in ten Europeans suffer from ‘energy poverty’, a lack of essential energy services. As temperatures plunge, they shiver in unheated homes, fall ill, and struggle to make it through to spring.

While the Juncker Commission has made clear progress on its commitment to a clean energy transition – as acknowledged in the recent Agora Energiewende and Sandbag report – the reality remains that clean energy can be costly and progress on addressing energy poverty has been much less prominent. January 29 saw a step forward to redress the balance when the European Commission launched the Energy Poverty Observatory.

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How Europe got tough on plastic

It is hard to imagine a world without plastic. Endlessly adaptable, it is found in everything from chairs to cars, from bottles to bags, and from toys to the computer or smartphone that you are doubtless using to read this article. But this everyday miracle comes with a price. If improperly managed, plastic waste can linger in the environment, and ultimately enter the food chain. So, how can we keep benefiting from plastic, while cutting its downsides?

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Europe’s response to growing cybersecurity threats

Governments and businesses alike are girding themselves against cybersecurity threats, as hackers keep finding new ways to steal and reveal our data. These threats will become the new normal, but as John Higgins warns, we can still do a lot to protect ourselves.

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A new EU goal: Tackling football’s imbalances

Football is bigger than it has ever been, and as its business grows, it faces new regulatory challenges. The European Union has tried to stay out of football, but William Gaillard argues that it should do more to ensure that the game is played fairly

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The EU needs to stay the course with its energy policy

The EU has faced a series of economic challenges in recent years, which have brought significant political and social impacts. Continuing the series of articles by Burson-Marsteller’s senior advisors on the future of Europe, Derek Taylor urges the EU to stick to its energy strategy, which will bear fruit eventually.

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