POLITICO's EU Confidential
Economic jitters, French upheaval, arms for Ukraine — what’s occupying EU leaders
Coming to you from this week’s European Council summit in Brussels, competitiveness and the economy are high on the agenda, alongside a historic EU agreement for joint arms procurement.We also discuss French President Emanuel Macron’s plummeting popularity ratings at home, and Franco-German wrangling over nuclear energy and e-fuels. Taking us through all this and more is host Suzanne Lynch, along with POLITICO’s Jacopo Barigazzi, Clea Caulcutt and Barbara Moens.We then hear from the CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU, Susan Danger, on European competitiveness, and get her take on America’s much-debated Inflation Reduction Act.Finally, we decode Brussels-speak. The podcast crew unpacks this week’s EU jargon: EUCO.
Das Auto debate — Activist Bill Browder on Russia's political prisoners
We debate Germany's last-minute effort to derail EU plans to end the sale of combustion engines by 2035. And our special guest is author and activist Bill Browder, discussing how the EU can take a stronger stance on punishing human rights violators.The EU wants to ban the sale of new combustion-engine vehicles by 2035, but the policy isn't going down well with German lawmakers keen to protect the country's behemoth car industry. Host Suzanne Lynch is joined by POLITICO's Joshua Posaner and Hans von der Burchard to unpack the latest row stirring debate about the future of Das Auto.Then, Suzanne sits down with Bill Browder in the European Parliament in Strasbourg to discuss his efforts to draw EU attention to political prisoners in Russia and Georgia.Finally, Josh and Hans return for our final segment decoding Brussels-speak. This week, the team explains what a "trilogue" is in EU policymaking.
Viktor Orbán's political director — Sponsored flight flap — VDL meets Biden
This week, we debate a controversy over travel rules for top EU officials and unpack what the European Commission president is hoping to achieve during her visit to North America. Our special guest is Balázs Orbán, political director to the Hungarian prime minister (no relation to his boss).Host Suzanne Lynch is joined by POLITICO's Mari Eccles and Karl Mathiesen to discuss a big story dominating the Brussels bubble involving paid travel by a top EU bureaucrat to Qatar while negotiating a critical aviation deal with the Gulf state. We dive into why this conflict-of-interest flap matters for EU politics — and to European citizens. Also, we reveal what European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hopes to get out of visits this week to Canada and with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington.And POLITICO's Lili Bayer speaks to Balázs Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s political director, who plays a key role in Budapest's international efforts to build relationships with conservative communities around the globe. They also talk about rule-of-law concerns and decode Hungary's rhetoric surrounding Russia's war in Ukraine.Finally, Mari helps our listeners better understand what it means when people in Brussels talk about a "DG." Remember, if you have ideas for our segment on decoding Brussels-speak, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New EU-UK chapter — VDL meets the king — Decoding Brussels-speak
This week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met King Charles III at Windsor Castle after a deal was sealed on a long-awaited solution to the post-Brexit trade row over Northern Ireland.Host Suzanne Lynch in Brussels is joined by Ailbhe Rea, co-host of our sister podcast Westminster Insider, and a special guest — the EU's final British Commissioner, Julian King — to discuss this latest chapter in the Brexit saga and where the EU-U.K. relationship goes from here. We also hear from Barry Andrews, an Irish member of the European Parliament.Then, POLITICO's Jacopo Barigazzi kicks off a brand new feature of EU Confidential — decoding "Brussels-speak." We're helping our listeners better understand the jargon and acronyms that dominate EU policy-making. This week's phrase is "Perm Rep."If you'd like to suggest an example of Brussels jargon you'd like us to decode, you can always get in touch by emailing email@example.com.
Russia's war in Ukraine, one year on: How Europe has changed
As we approach the one year mark of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the EU Confidential crew chronicles the historic policy shifts in the EU and European capitals with the help of Bulgarian political scientist, Ivan Krastev.Host Suzanne Lynch discusses the seismic changes in Europe over the past year with Ivan Krastev, chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.Then POLITICO's Veronika Melkozerova in Kyiv describes the mood there after U.S. President Joe Biden's visit earlier this week — and how Ukrainians are trying to re-build and stay positive, as the one-year mark of war looms.Finally, Suzanne speaks to curators at a museum in Kyiv who are gathering evidence of war crimes in an attempt to hold Russia to account.
VDL's texts — MEPs arrested — Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe
This week, we unpack some of the transparency issues plaguing the EU's top institutions, and our special guest is Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe on Europe's economic outlook.Host Suzanne Lynch is joined by POLITICO's European Parliament reporter Eddy Wax in Strasbourg, to discuss the ongoing Qatargate scandal — including the arrest in the past few days of two more MEPs in connection with the police probe. POLITICO's Sarah Wheaton in Brussels also weighs in on the proposal to create an EU-wide independent ethics body to address transparency concerns. Meanwhile, MEPs are resisting efforts to clean up the chamber, as Sarah reports in this recent article.The podcast crew also debates the news that the European Commission is being sued for failing to release text messages between its president Ursula von der Leyen and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla when the Commission was negotiating with the drug company on coronavirus vaccine procurement.And Suzanne sits down with Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe to discuss Europe's economic outlook, how the bloc is coping with high inflation and the impact of the war in Ukraine.
Zelenskyy in Brussels: the worst-kept secret in town — EU leaders on migration
Coming to you during Thursday's meeting of EU leaders, we discuss Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's (not so) surprise visit to Brussels, as well as other topics on the agenda: migration and Europe's response to the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act.On the sidelines of the European Council in Brussels, host Suzanne Lynch sits down with POLITICO's Clea Caulcutt, Barbara Moens and Jacopo Barigazzi to analyze the impact of Zelenskyy's visit to Brussels, which became the source of controversy after the news of his trip was leaked earlier in the week. The group also discusses the EU's attempts to make progress on its migration policy, as well as the bloc’s plan to make Europe more competitive.
EU-Ukraine summit — Fighter jets? — Moldovan President Maia Sandu
All eyes are on Ukraine as the EU's top officials visit Kyiv for a historic summit — the first to be held in an active war zone. And Moldovan President Maia Sandu is our special guest.Host Suzanne Lynch is joined by POLITICO's Veronika Melkozerova in Kyiv and Matthew Karnitschnig in Berlin to discuss what we can expect from the visit by EU leaders to the Ukrainian capital — including whether sending Ukraine fighter jets is now part of the discussion and if Ukraine's prospects for joining the EU have advanced.Also looking to join the EU eventually is Moldova. Suzanne sat down with President Maia Sandu as her country prepares to host the next meeting of the European Political Community in June. They discuss what we can expect from that meeting, as well as her country's EU prospects, the impact of the war in Ukraine and her own political journey.
Scholz's tanks for your assistance — EU finance chief Mairead McGuinness: Crypto is like 'a religion'
Our POLITICO team has the inside scoop on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's long-awaited decision to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and how it's landing internationally. Also, our special guest is Mairead McGuinness, the EU's financial services commissioner.POLITICO's Suzanne Lynch is joined by Chief Europe Correspondent Matthew Karnitschnig and Hans von der Burchard, our senior politics reporter covering the German chancellery. They break down Scholz's decision to send tanks to Ukraine (along with the U.S. and others) and debate the reaction to it domestically and among international partners. The German chancellor stuck to his position that he would not move until Washington also agreed to send the heavy military kit, but what was the cost of the delay?Then, the EU's Financial Services Commissioner Mairead McGuinness joins Suzanne to talk through the EU's approach to enforcing Russian sanctions and how the bloc is leading the charge when it comes to regulating cryptocurrencies.