Politico – David M. Herszenhorn & Lili Bayer / Commission wants bigger budget for smaller Europe
- The European Commission proposed on Wednesday a roughly €1.279 trillion spending plan for 2021 to 2027. Ultimately, the plan has to be approved by the 27 leaders on the European Council.
- The financial blueprint unveiled by the Commission smashes through the previous budget cap of 1% of the bloc’s gross national income, and seeks to push overall spending to 1.114%.
- The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, which currently makes up nearly 40% of the bloc’s budget, would be cut by 5%. And regional funds, which overall now account for one-third of spending by the EU, would face a 7% cut.
- The Commission would be allocating funds for an array of new priorities like migration, security and defense. Furthermore, a new “conditionality” mechanism would be implemented, which would empower the Commission to cut off funds to nations deemed not to be respecting the rule of law.
- The Commission also wants to create several new sources of income, including a redirection to the EU of revenues from selling carbon pollution permits under the bloc’s emissions trading system, and a new tax on nonrecyclable plastics.
The New York Times – Andrew E. Kramer / Ukraine, seeking U.S. missiles, halted cooperation with Mueller investigation
- In the United States, President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul J. Manafort is facing prosecution on charges of money laundering and financial fraud stemming from his decade of work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.
- But in Ukraine, where officials are wary of offending President Trump, four meandering cases that involve Manafort have been effectively frozen by Ukraine’s chief prosecutor.
- The decision to halt the investigations was handed down as the Trump administration was finalizing plans to sell Ukraine sophisticated anti-tank missiles.
- In another move seeming to hinder Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Ukrainian law enforcement allowed a potential witness to possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to leave for Russia, putting him out of reach for questioning.
The Guardian – Reuters / China deploys cruise missiles on South China Sea outposts – reports
- China has installed cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its outposts in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, according to reports.
- The move, if confirmed, would mark the first Chinese missile deployments in the Spratly islands.
- Greg Poling, of the Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that such deployments were expected as China built missile shelters on the reefs last year and already deployed such missile systems on Woody Island further to the north.
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