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EU close to reaching its migrant relocation targets as Commission ponders how to tighten Europe’s external borders

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – On 5 September, the European Union Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the European Council had not overstepped its authority when it adopted its plan in September 2015 to relocate 120,000 migrants from Italy and Greece to other European countries over a two-year period. With its ruling, the ECJ dismissed a lawsuit brought by Hungary and Slovakia alleging that the relocation programme was unlawful. In his reaction to the ECJ’s decision, Hungary Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó did not mince his words, calling it “outrageous and irresponsible”. For Szijjártó, “politics has raped European law.” Other responses were more…

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Can ‘strategic communications’ expose fake news – and how?

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – “We all know the power of fake news, and how difficult it is to address,” says Frederica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign and security policy chief, “Knowing the threat is essential, but not enough.” She addressed her remarks to a 2 October conference here, entitled “Hybrid Threats and the EU: State of Play and Future Progress.” But what is a hybrid threat exactly? Daniel Fiott, security and defence editor at the Paris-based EU Institute for Security Studies, offered one definition riffed from Carl von Clausewitz. While the Prussian military theorist said that war is “politics by other means”, hybrid threats, according to Fiott, constitute “war by other means.” That inversion of Clausewitz’s aphorism, however, holds a special challenge for Western governments in that some of their counter-efforts inevitably risk...