Why privacy safeguards in trade deals need urgent improvement

The EU and 22 other countries are closing in on a huge deal to liberalise trade in services. One of the few pending issues in this Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is the question of how to make sure trade...

/ October 20, 2016
Complicated maths

Fuzzy maths or how the Commission solves ‘costly’ chemicals laws

The European Commission is running EU chemicals laws through its REFIT machine. REFIT sounds like a strenuous fitness regime for overweight risk managers, right!? It’s not. Instead, it is a Commission programme that looks to streamline EU laws – a...

/ October 18, 2016
A smiling service worker offering a credit card terminal to a customer. Blurred face, focus on credit card register.

Paying abroad may be costing you more than it should

You’ve probably never heard of the term ‘dynamic currency conversion’. But you’ve probably done it on holiday or on a business trip. And it’s most likely cost you money. Dynamic currency conversion is a service merchants offer consumers when they...

/ October 12, 2016
Concept of sharing economy. Driver reponds to message on smart phone and gets in contract with customer, who needs a ride.

The consumer-policy nuts and bolts of the sharing economy

The sharing economy is a phenomenon which profoundly changes the way consumers buy or rent goods and services. It also allows consumers to enter the market to provide goods, services, time or skills themselves and become – what we call...

/ October 11, 2016

Big data, smart enforcement

Last week I spoke at a conference which was jointly organised by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and BEUC. Its motto hit the nail on the head: how can privacy rights be enforced in an era where big data...

/ October 7, 2016
Vending machine

Why eating right is an everyday challenge

Everyone is back to their pre-summer routine: back to school, back to work, back to stress. Does that mean a return to bad eating habits? It might not, if you can resist putting that sugar-laden cereal bar in your shopping...

/ September 22, 2016
Surfing the internet

Society wins as Europe moves to protect an open internet

A few days ago, European regulators issued a set of historic rules which frame the future of internet access in Europe. These rules clarify how Europe’s recent net neutrality law, a sometimes unclear text which was issued at the end...

/ September 8, 2016
Adaptive pathways

When drug approval is quick, it should not be dirty

Imagine you or a loved one have a disease. It can be treated, but only with a new medicine that is not yet available. The time it normally takes for a new drug to reach the market means it might...

/ July 25, 2016
eye make up

Did TTIP push the EU to scrap precaution on endocrine disruptors?

Last month, the European Commission broke a promise it had made to you and all other EU citizens. The promise? That the EU will not trade away the ’precautionary principle’ to strike a trade deal with the United States (known...

/ July 14, 2016

Technology to the rescue of finance?

Enter ‘Fintech’ into your favourite search engine. You will discover a whole universe of new technologies, companies and services, all set to revolutionise the way consumers manage their personal financial life. Smart apps and on-line platforms offer consumers tailored banking,...

/ June 30, 2016