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The liberal pushback (hopefully) begins: boosting the rule of law

By PATRICK STEPHENSON, BRUSSELS – The rule of law in the European Union is in danger. That was the message from “The State of Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights in the EU,” a seminar held in the European Parliament on 9 January. Hosted by the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), the seminar featured chilling stories of EU-wide corruption and media repression. In particular, Polish government efforts to politicise its judiciary have provoked great alarm among EU leaders, particularly among MEPs. The seminar’s main take-away…

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Tough political talks lie ahead between European Parliament and Council over rules and financing of EU’s future defence fund

By BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – The European Commission’s June 2017 proposal to create a European Defence Fund splits into two parts: a defence research “window” and one for capability development known as the European Defence Industrial Development Programme, or EDIDP. The latter would enable the EU to co-finance with national governments the pre-acquisition costs of testing, prototyping and demonstration for developing defence and dual-use capabilities. While few policymakers contest the research window’s rules and proposed budget of EUR 500 million per year starting in 2021, there are growing concerns within the European Parliament about the fairness of the EDIDP’s tentative structure and, moreover, how to fund its preliminary two-year budget of 500 million euros for 2019-2020. At issue are...