With his second five-year term expiring in one week, there is no one to replace Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS). In a letter to several senior European Commission officials, the Dutch national expresses concern about the uncertainty surrounding the appointment of his successor and that of the Assistant Supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli (Italy), particularly as the EU negotiates a controversial reform of its 1995 rules on Europeans' personal data.
"As you know, the mandate of the current team of supervisors will expire on 16 January 2014," writes Hustinx in the letter shared with the press, and addressed among others to Commissioner Maros Sefcovic, in charge of interinstitutional relations, and Commission Secretary-General Catherine Day, the key players on this matter. He notes that this deadline will obviously not be met. According to sources at the European Parliament, he and his deputy will remain in office in the meantime.
How long will they stay, though? Hustinx is concerned, probably with reason, about "a period of uncertainty as to the date on which the new team of supervisors will be appointed". Apparently, the selection procedure needs to be started over from scratch, judging from the response sent before Christmas by Sefcovic to the chair of Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE), Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar (S&D, Spain), who was already seeking an explanation of the situation.
In short, the Commission is supposed to present a short list of candidates to MEPs and the Council of Ministers, but it has not been convinced by the profiles of those who responded to the vacancy notice published in...