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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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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...