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John Palmer's 2006 forecast

9 January 2006
John Palmer looks at the paradox that confronts the EU in 2006: despite difficulties, EU expansion is set to continue in 2006. By the end of the year, there will be 27 EU countries, and still more looking to join. With a revitalized economy, and with the EU presidency for the second half of the year, Germany will return to being a key European actor. Austria, EU presidency holders for the first half of 2006, will want to focus on the Lisbon agenda; transatlantic relations with the United States will remain unpredictable, because of instability in the US administration and a decline in US power. A weakened US may necessitate a stronger EU, with some additional forms of shared sovereignty being a critical part of this.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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