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POLITICO's EU Confidential
37 minutes | 2 days ago
Ep 190: EU solidarity jabbed — Vaccine passports — China relations
POLITICO's Sarah Wheaton joins podcast regulars Andrew Gray and Rym Momtaz to discuss the implications of an increasing number of EU countries shopping outside the bloc for their vaccines. Where's the solidarity when some are turning to Russia or China even though those jabs haven't been approved by European health authorities?We also break down the European Commission's proposal to create Digital Green Passes, which could make it easier for vaccinated Europeans to travel abroad. The panel looks at the challenges of creating these and other types of immunity certificates, which are being considered by countries around the globe.Then we turn our focus to China and its economic relationship with Europe. POLITICO's EU-China Correspondent Stuart Lau dives into the details of the EU's recent investment agreement with Beijng, and brings us one perspective on economic relations from an Italian academic and former government minister, Michele Geraci. Be sure to subscribe to Stuart's brand new, weekly newsletter, China Direct. You can read the first edition here.The podcast panel returns with recommendations to get you through lockdown, starting with a foodie-focused Twitter account recommended by Sarah. Rym is feeling nostalgic after listening to a podcast featuring a classic French crooner. Andrew gets in just before the final whistle with a Netflix documentary about a footballing great that also tackles politics.
30 minutes | 9 days ago
Ep 189: Message to Moscow — Frontier fracas — Euro English
EU foreign ministers this week gave the go-ahead for sanctions on Russian officials in response to the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. POLITICO's David M. Herszenhorn, Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz and Matthew Karnitschnig debate whether this will have any impact on Vladimir Putin.Citing concerns about new strains of the coronavirus, multiple EU countries including Germany have imposed border restrictions, leading to big bottlenecks and tailbacks. Will Brussels get them to back down? And how much is domestic politics driving the new measures?Our special guest is Marko Modiano, a professor of English at Gävle University in Sweden. He makes the case for the EU to define and embrace its own form of English — Euro English. We also hear from a former senior translator at the European Court of Auditors, Jeremy Gardner, who takes a different view on how English should be used in the EU and its institutions. And what about the chances of a French comeback? (Voici un spoiler: They're not good.)The podcast panel returns with lockdown recommendations. Rym's attention has been captured by a fledgling superstar podcast. In keeping with this week's language theme, Matt suggests a classic documentary series from the U.S. And Andrew takes up a recommendation from a listener, who says this Brussels-based novel is a must-read.
34 minutes | 16 days ago
Ep 188: Mario Draghi's return — Italian influence — Is the EU funny?
We discuss Italy's new prime minister, Mario Draghi, and explore how he will operate at home and on the European stage. Plus, we debate whether the EU is funny, with a talented comedic cast.POLITICO's Jacopo Barigazzi gives us the inside scoop on Draghi, the former European Central Bank president. Jacopo joins podcast regulars Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz Matthew Karnitschnig to break down the challenges facing this new government, and to discuss how Draghi will influence EU power dynamics — particularly through his relationships with Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron.In these super-serious times, humor is all the more important. Granted, the EU may not seem an obvious source of hilarity — but it actually has a thriving comedy scene. We brought in Berlaymonster blogger Duncan Lumsden, Brussels-based improv performer Kelly Agathos — creator of The Brexit Rap — and POLITICO's Paul Dallison to discuss how and why the EU is funny.The podcast crew returns with a couple of recommendations for lockdown entertainment. Rym says this pop-star documentary is a must-watch and Andrew recommends a classic romantic thriller.
30 minutes | 23 days ago
Ep 187, presented by Equinor: Borrell Russia rumpus — Macron's rivals — Lithuania's foreign minister
We debate EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell's controversial trip to Moscow and hear from the foreign minister of a country that knows first-hand about Russian influence, Lithuania's Gabrielius Landsbergis.Borrell is under fire for standing by as Russian's foreign minister called the EU an “unreliable partner.” POLITICO's Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz and Matthew Karnitschnig debate how damaging the trip was for Borrell's reputation, as well as the EU's credibility when it comes to foreign affairs. And is anyone buying Borrell's defense that he was just doing his job?And the author of POLITICO's new Playbook Paris, Pauline de Saint Remy, joins the panel to give us a primer on who might stop Emmanuel Macron winning a second term next year. Do subscribe to Pauline's Playbook, if you haven't already, s’il vous plaît.Our special guest is Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis. While he's only been in the job since December, his life has been steeped in politics as the grandson of his country's first post-Soviet head of state, Vytautas Landsbergis. He's also a former member of the European Parliament. Landsbergis ventured into some of the hottest international topics with our own Rym Momtaz, including relations with Russia, China and the United States, as well as vaccine geopolitics.The panel returns at the end of the podcast with recommendations to keep you occupied during whatever form of lockdown you may be experiencing. Rym flags this book, which is very much in keeping with the geopolitical theme of this episode. Matt offers up a documentary about the making of a WWII film classic. And Andrew says this multi-part documentary podcast about the disinformation war around the White Helmets rescue organization in Syria is well worth your time.
34 minutes | a month ago
Ep 186, presented by Equinor: Vaccine export fiasco — Von der Leyen's line — Belgian virologist
POLITICO trade reporter Jakob Hanke Vela talks us through how the Commission's export control scheme became more controversial as it evolved, culminating in a plan to override part of the Brexit deal meant to preserve peace on the island of Ireland. The Commission was swiftly forced to drop that element after uproar in Dublin, Belfast, London and Brussels.Jakob is joined by podcast regulars Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz and Matthew Karnitschnig to debate the impact of the debacle on Ursula von der Leyen's standing and on the EU's reputation.We hear directly from von der Leyen on the episode, speaking at a roundtable with POLITICO's David M. Herszenhorn and other reporters.Our special guest is virologist Steven Van Gucht, spokesperson for Belgium's COVID-19 crisis center, which advises the federal government. In conversation with POLITICO's Sarah Wheaton, he lays out Belgium's timeline for vaccination, reveals his biggest fears about the virus ... and addresses the all-important question of when haircuts might be allowed again.Just one recommendation to help you through lockdown this week: our new POLITICO podcast, Westminster Insider, hosted by Jack Blanchard. We're also keen to hear your tips — drop us a line at email@example.com!
34 minutes | a month ago
Ep 185, presented by BP: Europe's vaccine blame game — Brussels bubble struggles
POLITICO's Chief Policy Correspondent Sarah Wheaton joins Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz and Matthew Karnitschnig to talk through an in-depth story she co-authored with health reporter Jillian Deutsch on the EU's race to procure coronavirus vaccines.The news that the EU won't be receiving nearly as many doses as expected in the early months of this year has triggered a furious blame game between Brussels, EU capitals and drugmaker AstraZeneca. As Sarah explains, much of the debate revolves around whether the EU's insistence on solidarity — negotiating with pharmaceutical companies on behalf of all 27 countries — ultimately hindered its ability to secure vaccines quickly enough.Our special guest is filmmaker Nadine van Loon. We explore the themes in her forthcoming documentary, "Notes from Brussels," which follows the lives of three women working in the EU quarter. Van Loon's personal story — having previously worked in the Brussels bubble but now observing it from the outside — gives her a valuable double-perspective on what it takes to thrive personally and professionally in what can feel like an all-consuming environment.The podcast panel returns with recommendations to help you get through lockdown. Andrew kicks off with a French Netflix thriller. Rym offers up an EU documentary where you'll also see some familiar POLITICO faces. Sarah longs for the days of in-person theater but promises this virtual comedic endeavor to be worthwhile in the meantime. And Matt recommends this thought-proving film, in keeping with this week's remembrance of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
29 minutes | a month ago
Ep 184: Europe reacts to Biden's inauguration — Merkel succession
Joe Biden's inauguration may have been happening in America, but the eyes of Europe and the world were watching. POLITICO's Rym Momtaz, Matthew Karnitschnig and David M. Herszenhorn discuss European reaction to the transition and debate the issues that will define this new chapter in transatlantic relations. Matt also has an update on the outcome of the race to lead Germany's governing Christian Democratic Union, and explains why Armin Laschet's foreign policy positions could spell trouble for his chances to be the next chancellor.Our special guest is Daniel Benjamin, president of the American Academy in Berlin. As a former U.S. ambassador-at-large and foreign policy expert, with experience in government dating back to the 1990s, he spoke with Matt about what Europe can expect from Biden and his team — and why it would be "regrettable" for anyone to dismiss the U.S. out of fear that a Trump-like figure (or Trump himself) could return to the White House.
35 minutes | 2 months ago
Ep 183: CDU contenders — Platforms and politicians — 'Good' countries
POLITICO's Andrew Gray and Matthew Karnitschnig set up the biggest political event in Europe this week — the election of the next leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Matt goes up against the clock to deliver potted profiles of all three candidates. He also predicts a surprise winner and explains how the contest fits into the race to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor.POLITICO's Technology Editor Nick Vinocur joins the panel, along with Rym Momtaz, to debate the repercussions of the social media bans imposed on Donald Trump. How has Europe reacted to these moves by the companies they are seeking to further regulate?Our special guest is British author Simon Anholt, who's spent the past two decades advising governments on how to better engage with the international community. He breaks down his latest book, "The Good Country Equation: How We Can Repair the World in One Generation."The panel returns with recommendations to keep you entertained during these winter months as lockdowns persist. Rym urges listeners (especially those in America) to revisit some mainstream media classics to fill your reading, watching and listening diet in this time of "alternative facts." Nick is hooked on a deep-dive health podcast, delving into medical issues that are top of mind for many at the moment. Fans of "The Wire" may enjoy this not-safe-for-the-family TV recommendation from Matt. And Andrew picks a long-running radio classic, which has politicians, sports stars, actors and others dusting off their record collections and preparing to be cast away.
41 minutes | 2 months ago
Ep 182: Vaccine vexation — EU-UK deal — Previewing 2021
We look back on the big news of the holiday period and forward to the stories we expect to shape 2021 in another bumper podcast panel edition of EU Confidential.POLITICO's Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz, Matt Karnitschnig, Sarah Wheaton and Charlie Cooper discuss an unusually newsy Christmas and New Year, including Europe's coronavirus vaccination travails, the trade deal between the EU and the U.K., and an investment pact between Brussels and Beijing that hasn't gone down well in Washington.Then it's onto the year ahead. Among the questions we try to answer:Who will take over from Angela Merkel as German chancellor? Armin Laschet, Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen are running to lead her party — but could Bavarian premier Markus Söder or Health Minister Jens Spahn end up running the government?Does Emmanuel Macron have a shot at succeeding Merkel as Europe's pre-eminent leader?How will Brexit Britain fare as it moves to the center of the international stage, hosting a G7 summit and the COP26 climate conference?Where will the Biden administration find common ground with the EU and the U.K. — and where might they differ?We also have a few suggested New Year's resolutions for some European politicians.Finally, we invite you to check out a brand new POLITICO podcast — Westminster Insider, hosted by U.K. Political Editor Jack Blanchard. In the pilot episode out on Friday, Jack explores how Western leaders struggling with the coronavirus pandemic are repeating the same old mistakes politicians have made for centuries.
41 minutes | 3 months ago
Ep 181, presented by Google: Reflecting on 2020
It's a bumper end-of-year review edition! But don't worry if 2020 is the year you're already trying to forget — we want to reflect on key moments and themes, rather than relive the trauma.POLITICO's Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz and Matt Karnitschnig take stock of the year that just wouldn't stop, while producer Cristina Gonzalez weaves in audio from the past 12 months that reflects the wild ride we've all been on.We start by rewinding to our first episode of 2020. How did our predictions hold up? For a year that held one huge nasty surprise, actually not too badly. In some cases, our words of wisdom proved more prescient than we could ever have imagined.Then we're off on a journey that takes in the EU's wobbly initial response to the coronavirus, its historic recovery fund, the continuing clash over core values and how Europe has fared in the wider world.We end with recommendations for the holiday season, which give us the chance to pay tribute to John Le Carré. Matt selects the author's memoir while Andrew recommends audiobooks read by Le Carré himself and classic BBC TV adaptations. (Even in 2020, they may make you feel a little more Smiley.) Rym suggests getting away from screens with a graphic novel or two.We also have a preview of a brand new POLITICO podcast, Westminster Insider hosted by U.K. Political Editor Jack Blanchard, which will launch early in the new year.EU Confidential will be back with our first edition of 2021 on January 7. Until then, wherever and whenever you found us in 2020, the whole team thanks you for listening and wishes you healthy and happy holidays.
38 minutes | 3 months ago
Ep 180, presented by Shell: EU deals on climate & budget — Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya
In their final meeting of 2020, EU leaders made key decisions on the bloc's long-term budget and recovery fund, emissions targets, and foreign affairs. We delayed this week's episode to bring you a must-listen analysis of what happened and what it all means. We also have an interview with Spain's Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya.A top team of POLITICO reporters takes you through the European Council. Lili Bayer breaks down the compromise that ended a budget blockade by Hungary and Poland over plans to link EU payouts to respect for the rule of law. Kalina Oroschakoff unpacks the leaders' pledge to cut emissions by 55 percent by 2030 and the battles that lie ahead. And Rym Momtaz and David M. Herszenhorn take a step back to sum up the summit and look at how Angela Merkel — who came top in our POLITICO 28 power rankings this week — fared during Germany's six-month presidency of the Council of the EU.Ahead of the summit, David sat down with Minister González to discuss some of the big issues also on the leaders' agenda, including Turkey, transatlantic relations and Brexit. We have highlights from that conversation.
38 minutes | 3 months ago
Ep 179, presented by Equinor: Von der Leyen's first year reviewed — Manfred Weber interview
One year on from Ursula von der Leyen taking office as Commission president, we take stock of how she has performed. And Manfred Weber, leader of the largest group in the European Parliament, shares his thoughts on her first year in office.December 1 marked the one-year anniversary of Ursula von der Leyen taking over as president of the European Commission. Did an unforeseen and tumultuous year knock her off her game, or set her up for some surprise successes? And which Commissioners in her ranks managed to stand out and keep their policy fields top of mind despite the pandemic, and which have faded into the background? A special Brussels panel including Andrew Gray, David M. Herszenhorn, Sarah Wheaton, Kalina Oroschakoff and Laura Kayali gives you POLITICO's take of how things stack up.Manfred Weber might have been reflecting this week on his first year as European Commission president, if things had worked out differently for the Bavarian MEP who leads the European People's Party group in the Parliament. He shares his perspective with Maïa de La Baume and David M. Herszenhorn on Ursula von der Leyen's handling of the crisis, her management style and how things are working in Brussels under new Commission leadership and changed dynamics in the European Parliament.Our podcast panel returns with new lockdown entertainment suggestions. Playing by the rules (in politics and sports) is top of mind for David in this podcast recommendation. Laura's been watching this classic political thriller TV series and Kalina's also feeling nostalgic with this sci-fi adventure comedy movie. And Sarah recommends next Monday's POLITICO 28 event that's sure to kick-up discussions looking ahead to 2021.
38 minutes | 3 months ago
Ep 178: Europe's new US BFFs — Biden calling — Big tech lobbying
They like America's traditional allies! They talk about multilateralism! Some of them even speak French! U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's foreign policy team has drawn rave reviews in Europe. We debate how much the hype is justified. And we look at the intense lobbying around two cornerstone pieces of tech legislation to be presented in Brussels soon.POLITICO's Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz and Matthew Karnitschnig discuss Biden's key picks and their likely impact on relations with Europe. And as Biden picked up the phone to call world leaders in recent days, which Europeans made the cut and in which order — and does that even matter? We also discuss where Britain may fit in the new transatlantic order.Brussels is set to unveil key pieces of legislation on December 9: the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act. Our Technology Editor Nicholas Vinocur explains what's at stake. And he sits down with Jan Penfrat of European Digital Rights and Margarida Silva of Corporate Europe Observatory to shed light on the lobbying battle to try to shape the legislation.The podcast panel also has a few lockdown recommendations. Rym picks a podcast about an American musical icon who supported one of the successful coronavirus vaccine makers. Matt does his bit for the Franco-German relationship with a German biography of a French statesman. And Andrew has a mystery podcast which is kind of about cryptocurrencies — and kind of isn't.
34 minutes | 4 months ago
Ep 177 In Focus: Energy, presented by Shell: Budget blocked — Strategic autonomy — COP26
Hungary and Poland's block on the EU's budget and recovery package and a Franco-German clash over European strategy autonomy are up for debate in this episode. And we take a deep dive into climate diplomacy, looking at some new pledges and the impact of the postponement of the COP26 conference.POLITICO's Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz, Matthew Karnitschnig and Lili Bayer examine Hungary and Poland's freeze on the EU's €1.8 trillion long-term budget and coronavirus recovery package. How dangerous is this crisis for the EU as a whole and where might things go from here? The panel also demystifies the public spat between French President Emmanuel Macron and German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer over European strategic autonomy and how much the EU should depend on the United States for its defense and security.Our special In Focus: Energy series continues with a look at COP26 — the annual climate conference that was set to take place in Glasgow but got postponed until next year due to the coronavirus. POLITICO's climate reporters Kalina Oroschakoff and Karl Mathiesen speak to John Murton, the UK's COP26 envoy, about how the delay has impacted global climate diplomacy. And we hear from Mohamed Adow, director of energy and climate think tank Power Shift Africa, about how the coronavirus has affected climate conversations in Africa and about his hopes for climate financing.For this week's lockdown recommendations, Rym gives the thumbs-up to an unfiltered conversation about what it's like to be a woman in the public sphere, Matt suggests a Cold War conspiracy-theory-turned-music-mystery podcast series, Lili promises the new season of a certain Netflix royal drama is better than the last, and Andrew comes through with not one but two music podcasts for those who want a bit of an escape from politics.
33 minutes | 4 months ago
Ep 176, presented by Equinor: Vaccine hopes — Budget breakthrough — US election reaction
The prospect of a coronavirus vaccine, European reaction to Joe Biden's victory in the US presidential race and a breakthrough on the EU's €1.8 trillion budget — it's all up for debate in this episode, featuring renowned virus expert Peter Piot.With Joe Biden declared the winner of the U.S. presidential race but Donald Trump yet to concede, European leaders are in an awkward place. How have they responded so far and were there any surprises in the reactions across Europe? POLITICO's Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz, Matthew Karnitschnig and Lili Bayer get us up to speed — and Lili catches us up on the big breakthrough in Brussels this week on the EU's long-term budget and coronavirus recovery plan.Peter Piot, the eminent Belgian virologist advising European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on COVID-19, is our special guest. He spoke with Andrew just as news broke of a highly-effective coronavirus vaccine candidate. Piot talks about what the news means for our prospects of returning to normal. He discusses what he's learned about the virus, both as an expert and as someone who himself contracted COVID-19. And he explains why he thinks we should be preparing for more pandemics.The podcast panel returns at the end of the episode with recommendations to help get you through lockdown. Andrew nominates an article by President-elect Joe Biden setting out his foreign policy agenda. Rym offers a lighter listening option — an insightful interview with another American "Boss." Lili is working her way through the works of a famed German novelist, with this being her favorite thus far. And Matt promises high drama with an Israeli thriller series.
26 minutes | 4 months ago
Campaign Confidential #13, presented by Huawei: Key election lessons — Georgia on our minds
In the final episode of our pop-up series on the US elections, we share the key takeaways, looking at what we heard over the past 3 months and how it explains where we ended up. We also look ahead to looming Senate runoff races in Georgia, with the balance of power in Washington at stake.Ryan Heath picks over the result of the U.S. elections and looks back at the campaign to see which moments turned out to be prescient: from predictions of massive Democratic turnout via mail-in ballots to warnings on the need for patience in declaring a winner (and the likelihood of litigation over the result).And it's not all over yet. Even as the final presidential votes are being counted, two crucial senate seats are yet to be decided. Greg Bluestein, political reporter at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, joins the podcast to break down the two Senate runoff races in Georgia, where candidates must receive at least 50 percent of the vote to win an election outright. The outcome in January will determine the overall balance of power in Washington. Bluestein explains why Georgia's vote was so close and what it says about the state of America's political system.
43 minutes | 4 months ago
Ep 175: Biden, Trump and what the US elections mean for Europe
In this special extended episode, we debate and dissect the U.S. presidential vote, looking at its implications for America, transatlantic ties and European politics.Even as the final outcome remains uncertain, the election has already told us plenty about America. It has exposed the extent of the country's polarization and made clear that Trumpism isn't going away — even if the U.S gets a new president. What does that mean for America and for Europe? And if Joe Biden clinches the presidency as seems likely, how will relations between Europe and the United States change?We assembled an all-star cast of POLITICO journalists including Andrew Gray, Matthew Karnitschnig, David Herszenhorn, Lili Bayer and Sarah Wheaton to debate these questions. And Ryan Heath joins from across the Atlantic to discuss his big takeaways from the election and suggest how the EU should handle a possible Biden presidency.
20 minutes | 4 months ago
Campaign Confidential #12, presented by Huawei: How to watch election night like a pro
In this episode of our pop-up series on the US elections, hosted by Ryan Heath, we give you all the details you need to follow the big night like a seasoned DC insider — including what to look out for, where to keep a close eye on and what the polls are saying.POLITICO Intelligence Analyst Cornelius Hirsch and Cameron Easley, senior editor at data intelligence firm Morning Consult, explain how the polls are different from four years ago, what lessons were learned in 2016 and the key places that will indicate how the election will play out. Ryan rounds out the discussion with his guide for what to watch for, and key numbers to keep in mind, as results start to pour in.After election day, Ryan will join the regular EU Confidential podcast, which will be back in your feed as early as Wednesday to bring you reaction and analysis from both sides of the Atlantic on what the result means for Europe.
36 minutes | 4 months ago
Ep 174: Team Macron turmoil — Minimum wage push — OECD contenders
Trouble in French President Emmanuel Macron's inner circle, the European Commission's move to boost minimum wages, and the battle to lead the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development all feature in this episode.POLITICO's Rym Momtaz gives us the inside scoop from the halls of the Elysée Palace, where top foreign policy advisers face accusations of fostering a hostile and dysfunctional work environment — allegations they flatly deny. Read Rym's full story here. And Matthew Karnitschnig explains why a speech by German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is being read as a big reality check on transatlantic relations.We hear the pitches of two candidates vying to become the next secretary-general of the OECD. POLITICO's David Herszenhorn spoke with Sweden's candidate, former EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, and Australia's Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.And this week, the European Commission proposed a law to bolster minimum wages around the bloc. It's a plan hailed by some as vital, while others say it will hurt workers in their countries or industries. POLITICO's Paola Tamma explains the plan and the concerns, checking in with Jobs Commissioner Nicolas Schmit and other key players with a stake in this debate.We also call out one of our big rivals in the European political podcasting game — a certain Angela Merkel — and offer some helpful suggestions on how she could mix things up a bit.
17 minutes | 4 months ago
Campaign Confidential #11: Top debate drama and campaign crunch time
In this episode of our pop-up series on the U.S. elections, hosted by Ryan Heath, we dive into the top debate moments of this campaign season — and explain how they've impacted the election.POLITICO White House reporter Gabby Orr explains the dramatic impact the first presidential debate had on Trump's campaign strategy, and whether he did enough to recover in the recent and final match up with Joe Biden. And with one week left, is there anything Joe Biden could say or do that would jeapordize his chances of victory?The regular EU Confidential podcast will be back in your feed on Thursday — and Campaign Confidential will come to you a day early next week. Our special Monday edition will equip you with everything you need to know in order to watch election night like a pro.
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