From European Parliament’s Last Day to Facebook’s Political Ads: EU’s Top Stories on April 18, 2019, Ranked (written for The European Views*)

The 2014 – 2019 European Parliament has held its last session. Photo: European Parliament
(*This opinion / analytical article was written by Ivan Dikov for The European Views website.)

The 10 EU news and developments from April 18, 2019, ranked in order of importance. (An experimental piece.)

Following are the top news stories from April 18, 2019, concerning the European Union and its member states, with ranking and commentary by European Views journalist Ivan Dikov.

1. 13-Billion-Euro EU Defense Fund Approved by European Parliament on Its Last Day

On its last plenary day, the outgoing European Parliament (2014-2019) rubberstamped a deal establishing the so called European Defense Fund, a facility that is supposed to boost the EU’s defense industry by co-funding research and helping avoid duplication of capabilities.

Not just that – the MEPs actually gave up the body’s right to parliamentary oversight over the EU’s military subsidies program. The European Defense Fund is expected to be given EUR 13-billion in the next multiannual financial framework of the EU. It is still to be approved by the member states.

Lack of defense cooperation inside the EU actually costs the Union between EUR 25 and 100 billion per year, according to the European Commission. The establishing of the EU Defense Fund seems long overdue, and the EU owes it to its citizens to become much better coordinated and capable on defense, and in a way that complements NATO.

The last piece of legislation actually adopted by the 2014-2019 EU Parliament was a non-binding resolution on protection against endocrine disruptors.

2. Center-right European People’s Party to Remain Largest Group in Next EU Parliament, Poll Projects

The rightist European People’s Party is expected to once again be the largest party family group in the European Parliament after the May 2019 elections, according to a poll. Yet, not unlike the large leftist party family, the Party of European Socialist, the EPP is also expected to lose a few percent. Euroskeptic and far-right formations are projected to make some gains albeit not very big ones.

Because of the projected drops, the EPP and PES who have cooperated in a grand right-left coalition in the European Parliament, are expected to have to seek a third group’s support to elect the next President of the European Commission, with EPP German member Martin Weber deemed the frontrunner for the post.

Should these projections materialize, the dynamic of the next EU Parliament will be determined by the balance between “more of the same”, that is, sticking to “EU normalcy”, and the temptation of the center-right to shift further to the right in seeking to neutralize the growing appeal of the far-right among certain groups of voters…

Read the rest of this article on The European Views website here

(399 words cited out of a total of 1,764 words)


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