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The politics and underlying reality of migration not looking good

By PATRICK STEPHENSON, BRUSSELS – On 4 July the BBC reported that many migrants relocated to the three Baltic countries have disappeared. The report claimed that, of 349 asylum seekers sent to Lithuania via the European Commission’s relocation programme for example, 248 left the country as soon as they received official refugee status. The UK news service speculated that the missing migrants may have left for west European countries where living stipends for refugees are greater, and family and community ties stronger. EU insiders disputed the BBC report, asserting that its numbers were misleading. But the fact remains that refugees vote with their feet, meaning their movements show the strains on the EU’s migration policy. In the east, the so-called Visegrad 4 – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – remain determined to accept no more migrants. As of mid-June, the Czech Republic and Slovakia had, in total, accepted the grand sums of 12 and 16 migrants respectively, from Greece. They have accepted none from Italy. The main EU focus now lies not in…

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EU leaders’ decisions augur big developments for European defence policy, with wider implications for other sectors as well

By PATRICK STEPHENSON and BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – After decades of procrastination, national leaders at their 22-23 June summit here took decisions that now set the stage for the EU’s entry into the defence field, though any talk of an imminent “European” army is fantasy. Nonetheless, important policy proposals by the European Commission were approved. The member states themselves finally agreed to finance their diverse battlegroups to boost the EU’s common security and defence policy (CSDP), for example, while approving plans – far more radical – to allow self-selected EU countries to shift into “permanent structured cooperation” (PESCO) in defence. But these were just some of the approved measures. An interesting coda to these decisions will be their impact on the EU’s...