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The EU takes a swing at Poland and Hungary

The European Union is, for better or worse, the most ambitious experiment in human history in institutionalized multinational cooperation. Its success depends on the willingness of its members to abide by its rules.

In recent years, the populist-nationalist governments of former Communist bloc members Hungary and Poland have flouted some of those rules in order to boost their own popularity with citizens suspicious of the EU's liberal values on issues like immigration and minority rights. In response, the EU has scolded these "illiberal" governments and threatened forceful action – so far without much effect.

The fight between EU institutions and Poland and Hungary has escalated.

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The US and EU further talks on technology governance

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

Hello, and welcome to the new Cyber In 60 Seconds. My name is Marietje Schaake, and you're finding me at the Democracy Forum in Athens. So, from my hotel room, I'm looking back at the Trade and Technology Council that took place in Pittsburgh this week.

For those who missed it, this gathering brought together high-level officials from the Biden administration and the European Commission. It was a long-anticipated meeting that was supposed to reach conclusions about a shared governance agenda for tech-related issues like AI, data, semiconductors, and foreign direct investments. But the Trade and Technology Council was also expected and hoped to mark a new start after very difficult years across the Atlantic. I think we all remember the years when President Trump was still in the White House. And thankfully, the August fallout and French anger did not end up pouring cold water over the events. Although, the general sentiment in Europe that the honeymoon weeks are over is widely shared.

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Europe's new Asia strategy looks to strengthen trade and political ties

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

Is Europe waking up to the reality of Asia?

I think that's the case. If you listen to the State of the Union speech by Ursula von der Leyen and the commission president yesterday, the new Indo-Pacific strategy of the European Union was a key part of her proposals. To develop new trade links, to intensify political cooperation, to look more at green and digital projects, to look at infrastructure projects together. And Korea is a good example of what can be achieved. We have a 10-year free trade agreement that has doubled trade between the European Union and Korea. And today, European Union is the single largest foreign direct investor in Korea. Much has been done. But if you listen to the voices in Brussels, yes, Asia is a key part of our future and policy steps are being taken.

Germany's floods make climate, competence top issues for election

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What will be the effects on the politics of Germany after the immense flooding?

Well, it's really been a catastrophe, nearly 200 people dead in Germany alone. First effect, naturally, questions about the competence of the government, has enough been done? And secondly, climate issues will be much more in forefront of the election campaign.

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European soccer’s civil war

Early this week, it took barely 48 hours for a multibillion-dollar separatist movement in European football to collapse. Twelve of the continent's richest clubs formed the Super League, a breakaway pan-European tournament from the world's biggest annual sports competition: the UEFA Champions League. In response to furious backlash from fans, players, managers, other clubs and governments, the project has been put on hold. But the very contentious issues that prompted the split in the first place remain unresolved.

While the dust settles, let's examine why the Super League's founders are so at odds with everyone else with a stake in European soccer, including some divisions with political undertones.

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Ursula von der Leyen's ambitious State of the Union speech

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, with the view from Europe:

How did President Ursula von der Leyen's first State of the Union address go?

Well, rather well, I thought. She was very strong on the health and the global health issues, needless to say, but also on the necessary green and the digital transition of Europe and the enormous amount of money that will be available to that. She was more ambitious on the climate target than has been the case so far and also stressed the competitiveness of the European economy long-term. I think she will get fairly high remarks for that speech.

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Europe offers support to Beirut; all eyes on Lukashenko's election

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, with the view from Europe:

How will Europe help with the catastrophe in Beirut?

You will see Europe mobilizing quite a lot of help. President Macron of France rushed there. That's natural due to the historical links between France and Lebanon, but also the European Commission and other countries are now mobilizing quite substantially. We are nearby. We have an interest in helping them.

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The EU's big plan to save itself

Facing the biggest economic crisis in the EU's history, the European Commission's president, Ursula von der Leyen, pulled out all the stops this week, unveiling an unprecedented plan to boost the union's post-coronavirus recovery.

The plan: The EU would go to international capital markets to raise 750 billion euros ($830 billion). 500 billion of that would be given to member states as grants to fund economic recovery over the next seven years; the remainder would be issued as loans to be paid back to Brussels. The EU would pay back its bondholders for the full 750 billion plus interest by 2058, in part by raising new EU-wide taxes on tech companies and emissions.

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