Brussels Playbook: EU talks more arms — NATO enlargement’s big day — Global tax deal (finally) nears?

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A DEFENSIVE RETHINK: EU defense ministers meet today as the bloc considers new ways to finance joint arms purchases. One idea: Pool countries’ defense budgets. Another: Obtain EU financing through the European Investment Bank.

More immediately, however, ministers are set to greenlight another €500 million to reimburse the EU countries arming Ukraine. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov will join the discussions virtually over lunch.

One EU diplomat said the EU is now “very close to a complete drawdown” of its training missions in Mali, with the security situation in the African country only worsening since the military seized power in 2020.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö travels to Sweden today for a state visit just days after both countries formally announced they want to join NATO. Playbook spoke to former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb about the historic about-face for the long-time NATO holdout.

“The paradox is that this NATO enlargement would not have happened without Putin,” Stubb said over the phone. “Last week, we had 76 percent in favor of NATO membership. This week, I predict that support for Finnish NATO membership will exceed 80 percent.”

Russia’s reaction: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday claimed Moscow had “no problems” with either Finland or Sweden joining NATO. That’s not what Russia’s foreign policy officials are saying, though — they’re warning of “far-reaching consequences” and issuing threats.

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