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On crime, European Investigation Order promises progress, while also posing problems

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – As criminals and terrorists refine and expand their transnational networks, European police operations have remained frustratingly national, particularly for obtaining evidence regarding cross-border investigations. Even in terrorism cases, police cooperation between European member states can be fraught with jurisdictional issues, legal differences and communication problems. To streamline the transfer of evidence from one EU nation to another, the EU created the European Investigation Order (EIO) in 2014. Its purpose: to simplify and standardise cooperation between judicial authorities, speed up investigations and thus help prevent crimes and terrorist attacks before they happen. The directive officially entered force on 22 May 2017 and the European Commission is now evaluating how the member states have transposed the EIO into national law. So far, the verdict is…

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Impact of EU’s forthcoming defence fund riddled with unknowns

By BROOKS TIGNER , BRUSSELS – The rhetoric of EU and national leaders kow-tows incessantly to the vitality and importance of SMEs – small and medium sized enterprises – for Europe’s economic innovation and job-creating potential. Yet successful innovative SMEs in the EU that soar to become giants on the world stage are few and far between. There are a couple of Skype-type exceptions, but too many of Europe’s “garage” inventors who have a good idea, particularly in the digital field, head for the greener pastures of the USA where bureaucratic obstacles are lower, returns higher and venture capitalists more willing to take risks than their European counterparts. This points directly to the EU’s forthcoming European Defence Fund (EDF) and how it will generate high-tech results within the framework of PESCO, the permanent structured cooperation in defence that 23 EU member states (and counting) will set in motion in 2018. Such projects will necessarily have to draw in dual-use innovations from the commercial realm. A critical acid test for the defence fund will be to what extent it enables SMEs with interesting dual-use products in one PESCO country to...