EU-U.S.: Reciprocity is the New Transparency

Once again, the continuing back and forth on an EU-U.S. bank data-sharing deal is illustrative of some potential post-Lisbon shifts in the EU’s wish list. In particular, it looks like reciprocity is the new transparency:

Last month, the European Parliament blocked a provisional deal between the European Union and Washington to permit the continued exchange of such data.

The move by Parliament was partly a bid to assert new powers to decide issues concerning European security jointly with E.U. governments. But the move also reflected deepening unease in Europe over the way personal data are increasingly used by companies and by governments.

Seeking to ease those concerns, the E.U. justice commissioner, Viviane Reding, called on the United States to agree to equal treatment of information about Europeans and Americans under any new, formal system for sharing data.

Significantly, the latest move is coming from the European Commission, which suggests that my hunch about the impact of an empowered — and pugnacious — European Parliament on the commission might have been right. After all, when it comes to EU-U.S. relations, no one wants to come off looking like Tony Blair.