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This article outlines some key requirements for smart grid communication architectures that arise from the established body of European regulation. In particular, the implications of an unbundled, competitively organized electricity market as prescribed by the European electricity directive and the core concepts of European data protection legislation as laid out in the data protection directive are taken into account. To achieve compliance with both, any communication architecture that should form the basis of a European smart grid must meet some key requirements which are deduced by applying the core principles of data protection to the different market actors' data needs. Three possible approaches for meeting these requirements are examined of which the introduction of an additional market role (“data trustee”) appears to be more sustainable than those currently pursued.