Today at Commission: Juncker’s ill, data protection and Romania

A Romanian man wearing an EU flag protests the country's anti-corruption laws in front of the Parliament Palace in Bucharest | Robert Ghement/EPA

midday brief, in brief

Today at Commission: Juncker’s ill, data protection and Romania

Commission president too unwell to travel to Davos.



On the agenda: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will not speak at the World Economic Forum on Thursday because of a “stomach flu” that “will not allow him to travel to Davos,” Margaritis Schinas, the Commission’s chief spokesman, said, adding that Juncker did not attend the weekly meeting of all commissioners on Wednesday.

Data protection: The European Commission also published “guidance” to prepare EU countries for the application of new rules on the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. The commission wants countries to step up their preparations for the new law, which takes effect May 25 and is designed to strengthen Europeans’ right to privacy online. “We need modern rules to respond to new risks, so we call on EU governments, authorities and businesses to use the remaining time efficiently and fulfill their roles in the preparations for the big day,” Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová said. The rules law will limit what big data companies can and can’t do with EU citizens’ data.

Space in Spain: The Commission said it would transfer a data center that protects military information gathered by the EU’s satellite program, Gallileo, from the U.K to Spain, as a consequence of Brexit. The move was first announced last week. “The new site will become operational in the coming months,” Jourová said.

Romanian fears: President Juncker and First Vice President Frans Timmermans issued a statement in which “expressed concerns” about the latest developments in Romania “regarding the independence of Romania’s judicial system and its capacity to fight corruption.” Tens of thousands of people demonstrated at the weekend against the country’s anti-corruption legislation. Jourová said the Commission agreed to send a letter to the Romanian government “describing what is the view of the Commission” and express how “worrying” it views the current situation.

Maïa de La Baume 

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