Arts and Culture
More from Google
Get the Android app
Get the iOS app
POLITICO's EU Confidential
From Brussels, Berlin, Paris and London — Europe’s premier political podcast.
6 days ago
Ep 159: Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić — Macron soliloquies — Green wave
A Green wave in France, the speaking styles of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić all feature in this week's podcast. POLITICO's Rym Momtaz in Paris explains what Green wins in local polls mean for Macron, while Matthew Karnitschnig gives us the perspective from Berlin on the Continent's Green shift in recent elections. A joint press conference from Merkel and Macron this week highlighted their contrasting approaches to communication. Merkel kept things concise while Macron, the guest, hogged the clock with a 9-minute opening speech. The podcast panel debates whether it's all down to cultural differences, personal preferences, or just bad manners. Vučić spoke to POLITICO's Andrew Gray and Jacopo Barigazzi during a recent visit to Brussels. The Serbian president discussed thwarted plans for a White House meeting with leaders from Kosovo and prospects for further peace talks. He also responded to criticism of last month's parliamentary election in Serbia, in which his party claimed 60 percent of the vote. Also on the agenda: Vučić's praise for China and criticism of the EU when it came to solidarity during the coronavirus crisis, and Serbia's s hopes for EU membership.
Jun 25, 2020
Ep 158: French & Polish elections — Germany's EU mission — Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean
The podcast crew marks your political calendar with previews of elections in France and Poland as well as Germany's presidency of the EU Council. Rym Momtaz in Paris looks ahead to Sunday's second round of French local elections and discusses the stakes for President Emmanuel Macron. Zosia Wanat gives us the lowdown on Polish President Andrzej Duda's re-election bid, hot on the heels of his visit to the White House, and brings us some audio treats from the campaign. From Berlin, Matthew Karnitschnig sets out Germany's aims as it takes over the EU's rotating presidency on July 1, seeking deals on the bloc's recovery fund and long-term budget as well as on future relations with the U.K. The EU's Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean is our special guest, interviewed by POLITICO mobility reporters Joshua Posaner and Hanne Cokelaere. Vălean has been at the forefront of some big coronavirus battles in Brussels lately, including over whether customers should get vouchers or refunds for canceled flights. Vălean also reveals how she had to change her mindset when she became a commissioner after many years as a member of the European Parliament. Oh, and if you're wondering about the twins — they're here: https://youtu.be/BiKG-2Tl6mo
Jun 18, 2020
Ep 157: Peter Mandelson's WTO bid — Recovery review — Kosovo maneuvers
Peter Mandelson, former EU trade commissioner and British Cabinet minister, throws his hat into the ring to be the next boss of the World Trade Organization (WTO). He makes his pitch as to why he could pull the WTO out of crisis — and why Britain's Conservative government might back him. He also discusses tensions with China and the path he foresees for a deal between the EU and the U.K. The POLITICO podcast crew — Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz and Matthew Karnitschnig — review the state of play as EU leaders hold a virtual summit on economic recovery plans and the bloc's long-term budget. They also discuss Emmanuel Macron's visit to London and ask how the U.S. outmaneuvered the EU in its own neighborhood with Kosovo peace talks.
Jun 11, 2020
Ep 156: VP Věra Jourová on disinformation — US troop pullout — China strategy
European Commission Vice President Věra Jourová joins us to discuss the EU executive's plan to crack down on disinformation related to the coronavirus. The document specifically accuses China and Russia, as well as home-grown peddlers of disinformation, of using the crisis to spread fake news — and it calls on tech platforms to do more to tackle the problem. Jourová, whose portfolio includes the rule of law, also shares her latest assessments on Hungary and Poland. Our podcast panel this week comes from Brussels, Paris, Berlin and Warsaw. POLITICO's Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz, Matthew Karnitschnig and Jan Cienski analyze Donald Trump's plans to slash the number of U.S. troops in Germany and examine whether some of them might end up in Poland. They also debate EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell's assertion that China does not pose a military threat.
Jun 4, 2020
Ep 155: Protests spread — G7 drama — French MEP Manon Aubry
The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of police officers sparked protests in the United States, as well as in Europe. POLITICO's Rym Momtaz, Matthew Karnitschnig and David M. Herszenhorn debate the reaction from European leaders, including the EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell who called this "an abuse of power." The panel also examines the current state of transatlantic relations, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel declines President Donald Trump's invitation to attend a G7 summit in Washington citing the coronavirus pandemic. French MEP Manon Aubry (GUE/NGL) is this week's special guest to discuss her first year in the European Parliament as the youngest co-chair of a political group, the Commission's recovery package proposal and to highlight, what she views as, a systemic problem with corporate lobbying's influence on EU lawmakers and ethical violations which erode citizens' trust. And be sure to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode: http://listen.politico.eu/_subscribe
May 28, 2020
Ep 154: Commission's €750B recovery plan — Battles ahead — Making 'Parlement' funny
The European Commission this week unveiled a sweeping €750 billion proposal to get the EU's economies back on track. POLITICO's budget guru Lili Bayer, along with Andrew Gray, Matthew Karnitschnig and Rym Momtaz break down the plan and preview the battles ahead. We assess the mood in Commission HQ and around the Continent, and ask whether Ursula von der Leyen and her team have emerged strengthened from the skirmishes so far. Noé Debré, the creator of "Parlement," a TV comedy set in the European Parliament, is our special guest. POLITICO's Cristina Gonzalez and Maïa de La Baume get the behind-the-scenes scoop on how the show came about, how it's been received inside the Parliament and what makes EU lawmaking funny.
May 25, 2020
Coronavirus edition #11: Reviewing Europe's response — Challenges ahead — Behind-the-scenes peek
As countries ease lockdowns and try to move toward normality, we take stock of Europe's response to the coronavirus so far. We pick out key themes and moments, offer a behind-the-scenes peek at our coverage and look at the challenges to come. POLITICO's Andrew Gray reviews the past few months and senior health care reporter Sarah Wheaton adds her insights in the last of our special coronavirus episodes — at least for now. Be sure to continue listening to our regular Thursday editions of EU Confidential, which will also focus largely on the coronavirus crisis in the weeks and months to come.
May 21, 2020
Ep 153: Merkel & Macron's Recovery Fund — Economist Lucas Guttenberg
It was big and bold and came out of the blue — Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron took Europe by surprise with a plan for a €500 billion EU recovery fund. Was it a historic moment for Europe? How would the scheme work? And can the skeptics be won over? POLITICO's Rym Momtaz, Matthew Karnitschnig and Andrew Gray break down the politics behind the plan and preview the battles ahead. To add an expert economist's view into the mix, Matt catches up with Lucas Guttenberg, deputy director of the Jacques Delors Centre at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.
May 18, 2020
Coronavirus edition #10: MEP Pascal Canfin on green recovery — Back-to-school questions
How green will Europe's economic revival be? Pascal Canfin, the chair of the European Parliament's environment committee, outlines what MEPs want to see from the EU's recovery plan. Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron outlined their vision for that plan this week but how does the Parliament think the money should be raised and spent, particularly to help the EU meet its climate goals? Children are heading back to school in parts of Europe. But their return to the classroom isn't without concern. POLITICO's U.K. health reporter Ashleigh Furlong walks us through the latest research on how the coronavirus impacts children and examines the political and parental dilemmas over the issue.
May 14, 2020
Ep 152: Timothy Garton Ash — Second wave — War on leaks
Timothy Garton Ash, professor of European studies in the University of Oxford, doesn't mince words about the challenges — and opportunities — facing the European Union as it tries to navigate its way out of the coronavirus crisis. His Europe’s Stories project is producing some surprising findings about what young people want from the Continent's politicians. Can they rise to the challenge? The renowned historian also talks about why this is a moment of "existential" danger for the EU, why he calls today's Hungary a dictatorship and how liberals mishandled the aftermath of the Cold War. Is Europe facing a second wave of the coronavirus? POLITICO's Matthew Karnitschnig and Carmen Paun join EU Editor Andrew Gray to look at possible triggers for a new spike in infections. They also discuss the response to the pandemic in Carmen's home country of Romania. And we debate the European Commission's new war on leaks. Does the Commission have any justification for threatening charges against those who pass on information about its plans?
May 11, 2020
Coronavirus edition #9: Talking Tedros: WHO chief in spotlight — Sweden's light-touch lockdown
We turn the spotlight on World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the man at the center of a global public health crisis and a geopolitical storm. POLITICO's Sarah Wheaton talks about her recent profile of Tedros and the challenges he faces over COVID-19, written together with colleague Simon Marks, who is based in the WHO leader's home country of Ethiopia. Read their article here: https://www.politico.eu/article/coronavirus-tedros-who-doctor-making-donald-trump-queasy/ We also hear from POLITICO's Charlie Duxbury in Sweden on why the Nordic country has taken such a light-touch approach to lockdown. What does it mean for everyday life? And how do officials explain a strategy so different from others around the world and what's been the reaction at home and abroad?
May 7, 2020
Ep 151, presented by the Croatian presidency: Coronavirus quandaries — New British Chamber CEO
What standards should we expect from politicians, professors and public health experts as they guide us through this crisis? And where does science end and politics begin? POLITICO's Andrew Gray, Matthew Kartnischnig, Rym Momtaz and Kate Day debate those questions and other coronavirus quandaries. And the brand new head of the British Chamber of Commerce to the EU and Belgium, Daniel Dalton, talks about what his members want from negotiations between the U.K. and EU as a crunch point looms. The former member of the European Parliament explains why he thinks a win-win outcome is still possible.
May 4, 2020
Coronavirus edition #8: Pledge drive — Getting philosophical — Brussels post-lockdown plans
Pledges of billions of euros to fight the coronavirus rolled into a conference hosted by the European Commission on Monday — but how much of that money is new and where will it go? POLITICO healthcare reporter Jillian Deutsch breaks down the results of the virtual gathering. We discuss why Thomas Hobbes is seen as the philosophical father of lockdowns with POLITICO's senior policy editor and resident philosopher, Christian Oliver. And Elke Van den Brandt, the transport minister of the Brussels region, tells us about her plans to roll out extra bike lanes and make the EU capital more pedestrian-friendly as the lockdown eases. As she tells our mobility reporters, Hanne Cokelaere and Joshua Posaner, the idea is to stop public transport getting too crowded and encourage commuters to consider alternatives to driving into the city.
Apr 30, 2020
Ep 150: Chinese propaganda — Economist Thomas Piketty — Brussels love bus
French economist Thomas Piketty has some big ideas about how Europe should respond to the coronavirus crisis. He shared them in a livestreamed conversation with POLITICO earlier this week, and Brussels Playbook author Florian Eder joins us to talk through some highlights. The podcast panel's Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz and Matt Kartnitschnig discuss China's diplomatic pressure on EU institutions and member countries, and how European leaders are trying to balance their economic reliance on Beijing with a desire to push back against coronavirus disinformation. We celebrate our 150th episode with a throwback to our first podcast and a salute to the original crew of Ryan Heath, Alva Finn and Lina Aburous. And we say thank you to our audience for a record-breaking month of EU Confidential listens by sharing some affection via the Brussels love bus.
Apr 27, 2020
Coronavirus edition #7: Commissioner Elisa Ferreira on economic recovery — Critical seasonal workers
Elisa Ferreira, the European commissioner for cohesion and reforms, is directly involved in crafting the EU's economic response to the coronavirus. She speaks with POLITICO's Lili Bayer about how the Commission plans to use regional development cash from the long-term budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), to ensure the whole of the Continent can recover economically. Ferreira also talks about how the recovery plan will fit with the EU's flagship climate initiatives, such as the European Green Deal and the Just Transition Fund to help countries go carbon-neutral. POLITICO's Carmen Paun shines the spotlight on seasonal agricultural workers from Romania and elsewhere in Eastern Europe who have been recognized as critical workers and allowed to travel to countries where farmers are desperate for their skills and labor. But are enough measures in place to shield them from the coronavirus and protect their rights?
Apr 23, 2020
Ep 149: Europe's recovery — Virtual Council — Anything but corona
EU leaders met virtually to try to forge a path toward economic recovery — and they found a way not to disagree, by deciding in advance not to try to agree. With the European Commission now tasked with producing a plan, what are the main sticking points to getting Europe up and running again? POLITICO's David Herszenhorn and Jacopo Barigazzi take us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the European Council, explaining how things typically work and how that's changed in the coronavirus era. Our podcast panel digs into the battles over the economy and the row over Britain's decision not to take part in an EU effort to procure medical equipment. We also explore some stories that didn't get so much attention because the world has been transfixed by the coronavirus. And we bid a fond farewell — for now — to our U.K. correspondent and panel regular Annabelle Dickson, who shares some joyful news with our listeners.
Apr 20, 2020
Coronavirus edition #6: Belgium death toll explained — Antibodies vs. immunity — AI & COVID-19
Why is Belgium’s coronavirus death toll so high? And will antibody tests be the panacea to ending lockdowns in Europe? POLITICO's Sarah Wheaton and Barbara Moens answer these questions in the latest edition of our special series on the coronavirus crisis in Europe. Also in this episode, POLITICO's Artificial Intelligence correspondent Janosch Delcker speaks with Nuria Oliver, high commissioner for AI and COVID-19 at the regional government in Valencia, about how she and her team of computer scientists are using AI to tackle the coronavirus.
Apr 16, 2020
Ep 148: Coronavirus Twitter chat — The Brussels Effect — Virtual Parliament
How have the EU and the U.K. handled the coronavirus crisis so far? Our podcast team took your questions on that subject in a live Twitter chat. Listen in to hear what U.K. political correspondent Annabelle Dickson, EU editor Andrew Gray, chief Europe correspondent Matthew Karnitschnig and senior health reporter Sarah Wheaton had to say. Anu Bradford, a professor at Columbia Law School, is our special guest to talk about her new book on "The Brussels Effect" — a term she coined to describe how EU rules end up setting standards in global markets. She talks about the impact of EU power on the Brexit negotiations, artificial intelligence, climate change and globalization. Bradford spoke to producer Cristina Gonzalez on a visit to Brussels before the coronavirus put a stop to travel as we know it. So Cristina also brings us up to date with how Bradford thinks the crisis may impact the EU's power. Our virtual tour of the Brussels bubble continues this week with an insider's guide to the…
Apr 13, 2020
Coronavirus edition #5: How Europe failed coronavirus test — Auto industry impact — MEP Bas Eickhout
Our senior health reporter Sarah Wheaton reviews the key moments of this crisis so far and answers the big questions on how Europe ended up here. You can read the deep dive Sarah co-authored with chief Brussels correspondent David M. Herszenhorn, How Europe failed the coronavirus test, on our website. POLITICO's Joshua Posaner tells us about the impact of the crisis on the auto industry, how it plans to recover and how that may affect regulation. You'll hear the perspectives of Eric-Mark Huitema, director general of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), and Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout, who has long expressed concerns about the industry's efforts to adapt to climate demands.
Apr 9, 2020
Ep 147: Who's running Britain? — Exit strategy U-turn — Virtual Brussels tour
Who's running Britain? Does anyone have a plan to get us out of lockdowns? And what's behind the battle over corona bonds? We try to answer all these questions and more in this week's episode. POLITICO's Annabelle Dickson paints a portrait of Dominic Raab, the U.K. foreign secretary standing in for Boris Johnson while the PM is in hospital. The podcast panel also discusses the European Commission's midweek U-turn — promising, but then postponing, a roadmap for returning to normality. And we examine the chances of EU countries finding common ground on funding an economic response to the pandemic. Nostalgic for the Brussels bubble, or curious about how it works? We start our virtual tour series with POLITICO's Lili Bayer, who walks us through how journalists usually engage with the European Commission via their press briefings, and how this has changed now that questions can't be asked in person.
Apr 6, 2020
Coronavirus edition #4: Pandemic preparations — Behind the masks — Coronavirus apps
David Alexander, a professor of risk and disaster reduction, explains how governments should prepare for a pandemic and why leaders seem to be in a state of "frantic improvisation" now this one has come along. Governments needed "an immediate, aggressive response" but underestimated the threat posed by the coronavirus as they weighed up the risks of action, Alexander says. He also sets out the case for the EU to "aggressively assert" a greater role for itself in handling major emergencies. POLITICO's health reporter Carmen Paun untangles the confusing advice on whether we should all be wearing masks. She also delves into the troubles governments and individuals are having procuring personal protective equipment. Chief technology correspondent Mark Scott talks about coronavirus apps — examining concerns about data privacy and looking ahead to the prospect of digital passports to show who's allowed back out into the world.
Apr 2, 2020
Ep 146: Jobs Commissioner Schmit — Lockdown limits — Corona bond bungle
Nicolas Schmit, the European commissioner for jobs and social rights, is our special guest — discussing the Commission's plan to help people stay in jobs despite the coronavirus crisis. Our pan-European panel debates how long citizens will tolerate lockdown life before pushing back against their governments. We look at Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's communications troubles, after she triggered anger in Italy by describing corona bonds as a "catchphrase" in the German press. And we ask if Europe will rally round a viable economic response to match the scale of the crisis.
Mar 30, 2020
Coronavirus edition #3: Testing questions — Corona bond debate — Dr. Herman Goossens
Herman Goossens, a professor of microbiology and coordinator of an EU group studying how to combat the coronavirus, is our special guest. What would he have done differently if he could turn back the clock? And when can we realistically expect a return to normal? Goossens answers those questions and more in conversation with POLITICO's senior health reporter Sarah Wheaton and EU editor Andrew Gray. We also look at coronavirus testing with health reporter Carmen Paun. What are the different types of test and how are authorities deciding who gets them? And POLITICO's Bjarke Smith-Meyer demystifies "corona bonds" and explains the other options at the EU's disposal to manage the economic fallout from the crisis.
Mar 26, 2020
Ep 145: Italian lessons — Democratic distancing — ONE Campaign's Gayle Smith
POLITICO's Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli in Rome shares her thoughts on what the rest of Europe can learn from Italy's response to the coronavirus. Our pan-European panel debates the challenges for democracy in the age of social distancing and examines the risks for the European project if countries hit hard by COVID-19 don't feel solidarity from their neighbors. Gayle Smith, CEO of development NGO the ONE Campaign, was in Brussels a few weeks ago and shared her prescient views on the coronavirus, based on her expertise in international development and battling past epidemics. POLITICO's Lili Bayer also talks us through the potential impact of the crisis on the EU's ability to agree its next long-term budget.
Mar 23, 2020
Coronavirus edition #2: European Commissioner Ylva Johansson — Vaccine confusion — 8 more weeks?
We hear from someone directly involved in the EU's response to the coronavirus crisis: Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson. The Swedish commissioner talks about the challenges of trying to keep the EU's internal borders open during the crisis — and sets out how her view of why that matters. Johansson, a member of the Commission's coronavirus task force, also voices her concerns about the impact COVID-19 could have on asylum seekers and migrants in camps on the Greek islands. We also check in with POLITICO health reporters Sarah Wheaton, Carmen Paun and Jillian Deutsch. They fact-check statements on the timeline for a potential vaccine, look at whether European solidarity is kicking in when it comes to treating coronavirus patients and highlight the mental health struggles of people for whom COVID-19 is particularly dangerous. Plus, did Belgium's health minister really say the country faces 8 weeks of lockdown?
Mar 19, 2020
Ep 144 In Focus: Energy, presented by Shell: Europe on hold — COVID-19 leadership — Energy battles
As COVID-19 paralyzes Europe, our podcast panel describes daily life right now in Paris, Berlin, London and Brussels. We also look at how Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen are leading in this time of crisis. Have they added to the confusion with mixed messages? And we share some ideas on how to survive the suspension of normal life. The coronavirus eclipses everything these days but other big issues haven't gone away forever. Among them is Europe's energy future, and we'll be devoting special segments of our podcast to that topic over the coming months. Earlier this month — in what now seems almost like a different world — the European Commission unveiled its flagship European Climate Law. Our reporters Kalina Oroschakoff and Aitor Hernández break down the five bruising battles that await Brussels in its attempt to slash EU greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
Mar 16, 2020
Coronavirus edition #1: Shutdowns & lockdowns — Europe's response — What airlines want
POLITICO brings you a special edition of the EU Confidential podcast focusing on the coronavirus crisis. This is the first in a series of extra episodes looking at the people, politics and policies shaping Europe's response to COVID-19. After we recap a dramatic day of shutdowns and lockdowns, POLITICO health reporters Sarah Wheaton and Jillian Deutsch talk with EU Editor Andrew Gray about how the EU and different European countries are handling the pandemic. They also turn the spotlight on the leaders and organizations who have been handed a central role. And we discuss how to talk about the coronavirus — what's the right tone for a crisis like this? We talk with our aviation expert Saim Saeed about the unprecedented toll the virus is taking on the airline industry. What's been the impact so far? And what do airlines expect from politicians so they can still put planes in the air whenever this crisis comes to an end?
Mar 12, 2020
Ep 143: Italy in coronavirus lockdown — Elections in France — UK's Tom Tugendhat
Life under lockdown in Italy: This episode of EU Confidential leads off with a conversation with Silvia Sciorilli-Borrelli in Rome about how Italy's attempt to quell the spread of the coronavirus is impacting people's daily lives. European Council President Charles Michel chaired a videoconference of EU leaders on Tuesday to try to get a grip on the coronavirus crisis. But was it too little, too late? POLITICO's Rym Momtaz (in Paris), Andrew Gray (in Brussels), Matt Kartnischnig (in Berlin) and Annabelle Dickson (in London) bring you the latest from their respective capitals. For France, that includes the question of whether local elections will go ahead and, if they do, how the outbreak could affect the result. U.K. MP Tom Tugendhat, chair of foreign affairs committee in the House of Commons, talks to Annabelle about post-Brexit foreign policy, the EU's geopolitical role, Syria and the race to lead Germany's governing Christian Democrats.
Mar 5, 2020
Ep 142, presented by Goldman Sachs: EU in crisis mode — Super Tuesday — Syrian doctor Amani Ballour
From Brussels, Berlin, Paris and London, we break down responses to the coronavirus across Europe. How are politicians and the general population in each capital reacting? Is there a coherent European response or is everyone doing their own thing? We also analyse how European leaders are responding to the war in Syria and its repercussions at the Continent's borders. Does Europe have a serious plan to ease the suffering and prevent another big migration crisis? And Super Tuesday election results in the U.S. have some European capitals hopeful for a change in presidential leadership — but would a post-Trump America be everything Europe wants it to be? Our feature interview is with Syrian pediatrician Amani Ballour, who worked for six years in an underground hospital in her home country, treating victims of the war. Her story has been captured in an Oscar-nominated documentary called "The Cave." She visited Brussels to share her story and appeal directly to EU policymakers for more…
Feb 27, 2020
Ep 141: Europe's coronavirus response — Carnival & anti-Semitism — Valdis Dombrovskis interview
This episode of EU Confidential explores how Europe is responding to the coronavirus, with POLITICO's senior health reporter, Sarah Wheaton. We also take you to the Belgian city of Aalst, whose carnival celebrations have been widely condemned for anti-Semitism. POLITICO's Eddy Wax gets local reaction. And if you've ever wondered what superpower the European Commission's Valdis Dombrovskis would like to help him bolster "an economy that works for people," POLITICO's Bjarke Smith-Meyer asked him about that — and many other things, including how to square climate ambitions with economic growth. Annabelle Dickson sheds light on the battle between Boris Johnson's top adviser and “the blob.” Rym Momtaz examines why there isn't more Western outrage and political action over attacks on the Syrian province of Idlib. And Matthew Karnitschnig gets us up to speed on the three candidates vying to become the next leader of Germany.
Feb 20, 2020
Ep 140: EU's €1 trillion summit — Herman Van Rompuy — A digital vision
We go inside the special summit on the EU budget as leaders battle over plans likely to be worth more than €1 trillion over seven years. Among those sharing their thoughts with us: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and the EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. Herman Van Rompuy, who negotiated the last long-term EU budget as president of the European Council seven years ago, tells us how these talks play out and shares his recollections of how he managed to strike a deal. The EU wants a chunk of the next budget to be spent on digital policy and the European Commission set out its digital vision for the Continent this week. POLITICO's technology editor, Nicholas Vinocur, joins us to break down those plans.
Feb 16, 2020
EU Confidential #139, presented by the Croatian Presidency: Munich Security Conference special
We go inside one of the world's top gatherings of political leaders, military commanders, ambassadors and policy experts — the Munich Security Conference. POLITICO's team of reporters analyzes the big topics to emerge from the conference, including the state of transatlantic relations, deep divisions in the West over China, Emmanuel Macron's worldview and the future of the European Union. The show features interviews with senior German Green party MP Cem Özdemir, former U.S. ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns, North Macedonia's Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and European Commissioner Thierry Breton. POLITICO's EU Editor Andrew Gray guides you through the corridors and conference rooms of the Hotel Bayerischer Hof, with contributions from colleagues Stephen Brown, Laurens Cerulus, David Herszenhorn, Matthew Karnitschnig and Rym Momtaz.
Feb 13, 2020
Ep 138, presented by the Croatian Presidency: German mess — 'Greta syndrome' — Anders Fogh Rasmussen
In the latest EU Confidential, ex-NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen weighs in on the future of European defense and the global artificial intelligence race. We also catch up with the new president of the European Committee of the Regions, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, on the biggest battle in town — over the EU's long-term budget. Our podcast panel discusses the political demise of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, leader of the ruling Christian Democrats and Angela Merkel's presumed successor as chancellor. Why did it happen and who will now take pole position in the race to replace Merkel? We also debate EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell's critical comments on youth climate activists, and look ahead to this week's Munich Security Conference. Look out for a special edition of the podcast on Sunday as the conference of world leaders, military chiefs and policy wonks wraps up.
Feb 6, 2020
Ep 137: Margrethe Vestager interview — Macron in Poland — Revisiting enlargement
Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s executive vice president for digital, is the main interview guest in this week's EU Confidential podcast. She made a name for herself by taking on tech giants in her last job and her new role gives her even more clout. She tells POLITICO's Chief Technology Correspondent Mark Scott how she plans to use her new powers over the next five years. The podcast panel dives into the new proposal to revamp the way the EU deals with would-be members. POLITICO’s Rym Momtaz takes us behind the scenes of French President Emmanuel Macron's visit to Poland. And in our first post-Brexit episode, we debate how the political plates will shift inside the EU — and who are Britain's best buddies inside the camp?
Jan 30, 2020
Ep 136: Departing Brits debate — Huawei fallout — EU budget crunch
This episode of EU Confidential bids adieu (or is it au revoir?) to the U.K. as an EU member. You'll hear a lively debate with outgoing British MEPs Jude Kirton-Darling (Labour Party), Alex Phillips (Green Party) and Ann Widdecombe (Brexit Party) during their last days as members of the European Parliament. POLITICO's tech editor Nick Vinocur and U.K. correspondent Annabelle Dickson unpack big moves from Britain and the EU on Chinese company Huawei's role in 5G telecoms networks in the face of U.S. pressure. And Brussels politics reporter Lili Bayer gets us up to speed on one of the biggest battles in the EU — over the next seven-year budget — ahead of a special summit on February 20.
Jan 23, 2020
Ep 135, presented by Goldman Sachs: PM Xavier Bettel — Prof. Mary Beard — David Miliband
This EU Confidential episode comes to you from Davos, Switzerland where the POLITICO team has been covering the 50th edition of the World Economic Forum. You'll hear an exclusive interview with Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel on the EU's Green Deal. We also talked Trump and Twitter with Mary Beard, professor of classics at the University of Cambridge, and heard from David Miliband about Europe's migration policy challenges.
Jan 21, 2020
Davos Confidential #3, presented by Goldman Sachs: Trump address — Solvay's CEO — Quantum computing
On episode 3 of POLITICO's Davos Confidential podcast series, our Editor-in-Chief Stephen Brown breaks down Donald Trump's address on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum, and Florian Eder and Rym Momtaz discuss Trump's meeting with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. POLITICO's Ryan Heath caught up with Ilham Kadri, the CEO of Solvay, a leading Belgian chemical company, about her company's new purpose. We also checked in with Achim Steiner, the head of the United Nations Development Programme. And we discuss quantum computing and its impact on our future with Arvind Krishna, senior vice president of cloud and cognitive software at IBM.
Jan 20, 2020
Davos Confidential #2, presented by Goldman Sachs: Trump day — Workforce transformation
On Day 2 of Davos Confidential, we preview Donald Trump's much-anticipated speech at the World Economic Forum. Who's considered the most "controversial" among this high-powered crowd? POLITICO's Rym Momtaz, Stephen Brown and Florian Eder debate this question, as well as the impact of the climate movement on businesses. POLITICO's Ryan Heath also discusses changes in the workforce and how companies are investing in up-skilling workers with Tim Ryan, senior partner and chairman of PwC U.S. And our producer Cristina Gonzalez checks in with Stu Eizenstat, a former U.S. ambassador to the EU, about U.S.-EU trade challenges, the impact of China on transatlantic relations, and the cloud of impeachment hanging over Trump's WEF appearance.
Jan 19, 2020
Davos Confidential #1, presented by Goldman Sachs: World Economic Forum preview
POLITICO heads to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum this week — bringing you a special daily podcast series from the snowy mountains where some of the world's top political, business and civil society leaders gather annually to discuss pressing global challenges. In this episode, POLITICO's Rym Momtaz, Ryan Heath and Cristina Gonzalez give us a taste of what to expect at the forum, where climate change seems to be the issue dominating the agenda. Ryan speaks with Ibrahim AlHusseini, an early Tesla and Uber investor who now heads investment firm FullCycle, who explains why businesses can no longer operate in a vacuum when it comes to the climate: “Even financial winners have to breathe the air. They’ll have to drink water,” AlHusseini said.
Jan 16, 2020
Ep 134: Geopolitical tussles — EU's green cash — New Zealand's EU envoy
On this episode of EU Confidential, Europe is on the foreign policy defensive again after Russia and Turkey seized the initiative in Libya. But did Putin and Erdoğan overreach and could the EU step in to seal a deal? Meanwhile, Brussels presented a new fund this week to help Europe go carbon-neutral by 2050. Are the capitals counting on the EU to help them go green? For our feature interview, New Zealand's outgoing ambassador to the EU and NATO, David Taylor, talks to POLITICO's EU Editor Andrew Gray. Taylor has spent years trying to do what Britain will soon try to do too — influence the EU from the outside. He gives us some diplomatic insight into how to advance your own country’s interests on trade, agriculture and other big issues without a seat at the top table. We also look ahead to the World Economic Forum in Davos. POLITICO will be out in force to bring you daily podcasts from the gathering of global power-brokers — look out for the first Davos Confidential on Monday m…
Jan 9, 2020
Ep 133, presented by Gilead: Europe's Iran reaction — 2020 EU resolutions — New AIDS epidemic
The podcast welcomes the New Year with a spirited discussion about Europe's response to the U.S. assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. Will the EU, France or the U.K. emerge as the power broker between Washington and Tehran or are Europe and its leaders mere bystanders? The podcast crew members — Andrew Gray in Brussels, Rym Momtaz in Paris, Matthew Karnitschnig in Berlin and Annabelle Dickson in London — also reveal the issues they expect to dominate the political agenda in 2020, and offer a few New Year's resolutions. POLITICO health reporters Sarah Wheaton and Carmen Paun bring us a special deep-dive investigation into the modern face of a disease that transformed the world and changed the most intimate aspects of our lives. The New AIDS Epidemic is a POLITICO series looking at how the challenges for people living with HIV and AIDS and for medical professionals have mutated since the disease emerged. In this episode, we hear the story of Luís Mendão, 61, who…
Dec 19, 2019
Ep 132: Top 2019 moments — UK vote fallout — Deepfakes — Catalonia's Alfred Bosch
In the last episode of 2019, the EU Confidential podcast crew selects their top political moments of the year — from the launch of the Brexit party in the U.K., to the Ibiza affair that toppled the Austrian government, and finally to the sidelines of an EU summit and a rare, livestreamed look at the art of the backroom chat. Our Artificial Intelligence Correspondent Janosch Delcker takes us on a deep dive into deepfakes — as manipulated videos start to cause political turbulence around the world. And POLITICO's Emma Anderson sat down with Catalan Foreign Minister Alfred Bosch on his recent trip to Washington. Our episode airs just as the EU's highest court has ruled that Spain was wrong to keep pro-independence leader Oriol Junqueras behind bars and stop him taking up a seat in the European Parliament. Emma and the minister discussed that case ahead of the verdict.
Dec 12, 2019
Ep 131, presented by ERT: EU summit — Climate confusion — Gentiloni on geopolitics
This week's podcast comes from the EU summit in Brussels, where new European Council President Charles Michel claimed agreement on the Continent going climate-neutral by 2050 — but Poland has other ideas. POLITICO's climate reporter Paola Tamma, budget reporter Lili Bayer, chief Brussels correspondent David Herszenhorn and EU editor Andrew Gray break down the big issues behind the summit. They also look at the implications for the EU's ambitions to be the world's climate leader and for another pressing agenda item: the EU's budget. We hear from EU leaders including Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. We also speak with EU Ministers Helen McEntee of Ireland and Tytti Tuppurainen of Finland. Away from the summit, POLITICO's Matthew Karnitschnig talks to new European Commissioner for the Economy Paolo Gentiloni about the importance of the Mediterranean region in a geopolitical Commission.
Dec 9, 2019
Ep 130, presented by ERT: UK general election special
The U.K. general election is the focus for a special edition of POLITICO'S EU Confidential podcast. Our team of journalists looks at the possible outcomes from both U.K. and EU perspectives. What are the most likely scenarios and what would they mean for the U.K., the EU and future relations between the two? Kate Day and Annabelle Dickson of POLITICO's U.K. team are joined by Chief Europe Correspondent Matthew Karnitschnig and EU Editor Andrew Gray. We also have an on-the-ground report from a key marginal constituency, Stirling in central Scotland, where MEP Alyn Smith of the Scottish National Party is locked in a tight battle with Stephen Kerr of the Conservatives. The outcome of that contest will give a good indication of which way both the U.K. and Scotland are heading on election night. And POLITICO's Chief Technology Correspondent Mark Scott talks Cristina Gonzalez, our podcast producer, about the digital campaign.
Dec 5, 2019
Ep 129, presented by Shell: Hot mic NATO summit — Former French ambassador Gérard Araud
It wouldn't be a meeting of world leaders these days without a spat or two, and NATO's 70th anniversary celebration near London was no exception. POLITICO's Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz, David Herszenhorn and Emilio Casalicchio were on the spot to give us the inside scoop on the hot mic moments, the Trump-Macron slugfest and the future of the alliance. To understand more about the Macron mindset, our own Rym spoke on the phone with Gérard Araud, the outspoken former French ambassador to the United States. Araud retired this summer, giving him license to speak even more freely — about Macron, French "romanticism" over Russia, the Franco-German relationship and why it's easier for French diplomats to work with Brits than Germans.
Nov 28, 2019
Ep 128, presented by the Martens Centre: Commissioner Avramopoulos — New Commission standouts
In the new episode of EU Confidential, we talk migration and security with the EU’s outgoing commissioner for home affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos. The Greek politician doesn’t mince words on migration, saying European leaders are quick to blame everyone else even though the issue is a “shared responsibility.” As a senior figure in the European People’s Party, Avramopoulos also discusses Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s place in the EU’s center-right alliance: “Mr. Orbán is doing whatever he can in order to be kicked out from the EPP family.” The podcast panel picks out key figures in Ursula von der Leyen’s incoming European Commission. POLITICO’s Annabelle Dickson demystifies the U.K. general election campaign. And we analyse the state of Franco-German relations as Paris and Berlin attempt to put a rough patch behind them by presenting common ideas on the future of the EU.
Nov 21, 2019
Ep 127: European Parliament VP Katarina Barley — EU’s missing Iran response — All eyes on NATO
The podcast crew debates the EU’s response — or lack thereof — to the wave of protests rocking Iran and Tehran's latest violation of the Iran nuclear deal. POLITICO's chief Brussels correspondent David Herszenhorn joins the panel to report that French President Emmanuel Macron's comments on NATO suffering from "brain death" are still ringing in leaders' ears. The big question, after a meeting of foreign ministers at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels this week, is: Can European countries agree on where they want the alliance to go from here? Our feature interview this week is with European Parliament Vice President Katarina Barley. The MEP opens up to POLITICO’s EU editor Andrew Gray about her unusual career move from a top job in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet to an MEP and vice president in the European Parliament. Barley, a Social Democrat and former justice minister, also explains why she voted with her Social Democrats against Ursula von der Leyen as the…
Nov 14, 2019
Ep 126: Madeleine Albright — New plan for EU hopefuls — Macron's worldview
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright talks about the divisions that emerged in Europe after the Cold War — and what the EU can do about them. We also debate a controversial plan to break the EU's deadlock on new members with the man behind the proposal, Gerald Knaus of the European Stability Initiative think tank. The podcast crew takes a closer look at Emmanuel Macron's worldview and the reaction to his big foreign policy interview, in which he declared NATO to be brain dead. And we round up the latest on the incoming European Commission after another batch of confirmation hearings. Is it full steam ahead for President-elect Ursula von der Leyen's team on December 1? Or has she hit the buffers again?
Nov 7, 2019
Ep 125: Oettinger interview — Pompeo hits the Wall — Romania's Commission pick
In the new EU Confidential podcast, the EU's outgoing budget chief Günther Oettinger opens up on his decade in Brussels. POLITICO's Carmen Paun has the scoop on Romania's new nominee for the European Commission. From London, Annabelle Dickson has a primer on electronic election interference in the U.K. ahead of its December vote. And Matt Karnitschnig sums up the mood in Germany amid celebrations to mark 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, which include a visit from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo amid some transatlantic tension. In our feature interview, Oettinger talks to POLITICO's Hans von der Burchard about his stewardship of the EU budget, his take on how the bloc needs to change and the political dynamics back in his home country of Germany.
Oct 31, 2019
Ep 124: Macron to China — Populist resurgence — UK election & DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson
In the brand new episode of EU Confidential, we talk China, populism and British politics. With Emmanuel Macron heading for China and top German officials in open disagreement over Huawei’s 5G technology, POLITICO's Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz and Matthew Karnitschnig discuss whether Europe has a credible strategy for dealing with Beijing. Following the success of populist parties in German and Italian regional elections, we ask if Europe's political mainstream was too quick to write off the far right. And POLITICO's chief U.K. correspondent, Charlie Cooper, previews the key messages and likely Brexit outcomes from Britain's snap general election campaign. We stay in stay in the U.K. for this week's feature interview — POLITICO's Annabelle Dickson speaks with Jeffrey Donaldson, one of the Democratic Unionist Party’s key figures in Westminster. As chief whip of the Northern Irish party, he has helped prop up Britain’s Conservative government since Theresa May lost the party…
Oct 24, 2019
Ep 123, presented by ExxonMobil: Juncker's legacy — Spain’s EU minister Marco Aguiriano
In the latest episode of EU Confidential, we talk EU enlargement, Jean-Claude Juncker's legacy, Brexit and Syria. And we have an interview with Spain's point man for the EU. The podcast panel tackles the repercussions of the European Council’s controversial decision not to start EU membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania. As Juncker gets ready to bow out as European Commission chief, we ask how he'll be remembered in Brussels and across the Continent. We also discuss the geopolitical implications of the situation in Syria and, of course, a wee bit of Brexit. Matt Kartnitschnig speaks with Spain’s EU minister Marco Aguiriano for our feature interview. They discuss the latest news from Catalonia. We also get Aguiriano’s view on the EU enlargement debate and what we can expect from his compatriot and long-time close colleague Josep Borrell, who will soon become the EU’s foreign policy chief.
Oct 17, 2019
Ep 122, presented by BP: Brexit deal — European Council behind the scenes — Greek PM Mitsotakis
This special episode of EU Confidential takes you inside the European Council summit in Brussels which signed off on the brand new Brexit deal. POLITICO’s Annabelle Dickson, Rym Momtaz and Andrew Gray break down the deal and map out what happens next. We also give you a flavor of what it’s like to be inside the summit bubble covering an event like this. We speak to European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen and Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec on the red carpet as they make their way to the meeting. And Brussels Playbook author Florian Eder talks to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis about other items on the summit agenda, including EU enlargement, migration and climate change. It’s a must-listen episode for anyone who wants the scoop on day 1 of the summit or is curious how big political events like these unfold.
Oct 10, 2019
Ep 121: Goulard rejected — Sondland in hot water — Green MEP Daniel Freund on EU transparency
Commission drama, impeachment battles, countries struggling to leave and join the EU, and fights over transparency in politics — they’re all here in our latest episode. France's Commission pick Sylvie Goulard is out. It’s a big blow to Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron, who proposed the former MEP to take on a beefed-up internal market portfolio. David Herszenhorn, POLITICO’s chief correspondent, and Andrew Gray, EU editor, look at the stories of score-settling and revenge that lie behind this drama. U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordan Sondland finds himself at the center of the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. Rym Momtaz, Matt Karnitschnig weigh in on the repercussions for the EU. Will Trump’s man in Brussels still have time to focus on the day job? And Matt gives his colorful take on Boris Johnson’s Brexit phone call with Angela Merkel and the prospect of Albania and North Macedonia joining the EU. Our feature inter…
Oct 7, 2019
SPONSORED CONTENT: As farms go digital, possibilities for decarbonization grow
In the special branded episode of EU Confidential Goes Green by Bayer: The episode focuses on digital tools being used on European farms, and the new technologies that are around the corner. Featuring interviews with Jan Huitema, a Dutch MEP and farmer, Daniel Azevedo, a director with farming association Copa Cogeca, and Philipp-Andreas Schmidt, head of Global Digital Farming Policy & Public Affairs at Bayer, they discuss technology, sustainability and the future of European agriculture. The panelists throw the old image of a bucolic farm disconnected from the modern world out the window. We learn about new tools that are predicting crop yield, tracking livestock and maximizing efficiency. The changes can lead to big improvements in sustainability. Listen to these insights and more.
Oct 3, 2019
Ep 120, presented by ExxonMobil: Boris’ Brexit proposal — Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš
On our latest episode of the new EU Confidential, POLITICO's Annabelle Dickson unpacks Boris Johnson's new Brexit plan. Meanwhile in Brussels, confirmation hearings for new European Commissioners are well underway. Incoming Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has already lost two members of her team. Will more follow? And POLITICO's chief Europe correspondent Matt Karnitschnig calls in from his U.S. tour to report on how the Continent is viewed from the other side of the Atlantic these days. Our feature interview is with Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš. The businessman-turned-politician has been taking on an increasingly prominent role within the European People’s Party (EPP). He was one of two EPP coordinators charged with negotiating who should get the top EU jobs after the European Parliament election. Kariņš tells POLITICO’s Bjarke Smith-Meyer how he envisions change for the EPP. His message in short: Go green or die.
Sep 26, 2019
Ep 119, presented by the European Commission: Von der Leyen’s rejection woes — Labour’s Keir Starmer
This week’s episode takes us to London, New York and around the Continent. We start in Brussels, where members of the European Parliament rejected the Romanian and Hungarian nominees for the next European Commission over concerns about potential conflicts of interest. Just back from the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Rym Momtaz takes us behind the scenes of Emmanuel Macron’s push to defuse tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Matt Karnitschnig is in Vienna to preview this weekend’s general election in Austria. And we hear from Christian Oliver, POLITICO’s senior policy editor, on what landmark tax rulings by the EU General Court mean for Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. In our feature interview, Keir Starmer, the U.K. Labour party’s shadow Brexit secretary, sat down with POLITICO London Playbook Editor Jack Blanchard moments after a dramatic vote on at the party’s annual conference this week. Starmer talks to Jack about why he thinks Labour would end up bac…
Sep 19, 2019
Ep 118, presented by BP: Georgian President Salomé Zourabichvili
In our just-released podcast, we review the week in European politics and speak to the president of a small country with big geopolitical challenges. "Protecting the European way of life” and other curious job titles in the next European Commission are causing ever more consternation and confusion, particularly in the European Parliament. Our quartet of journalists from the EU's key capitals debate those concerns and asks what the kerfuffle tells us about how President-elect Ursula von der Leyen operates. And just when you thought Italian politics had calmed down... Former PM Matteo Renzi and his allies have broken away from the governing Democratic Party. Our correspondent in Rome, Silvia Sciorilli-Borrelli, tells us what it means for Italy and Europe. Our special guest is Georgian President Salomé Zourabichvili, who’s trying to bring her country closer to the EU even as she accepts it won't be joining the bloc — at least not for a long time to come. At the same time, she ha…
Sep 15, 2019
Ep 117 Special Edition: US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland
In a special edition of the EU Confidential podcast, U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland speaks with POLITICO’s Ryan Heath about the state of relations between Europe and the United States. Donald Trump’s man in Brussels talks about the prospects of a relationship “reset,” trade tension, digital tax and much more. Sondland has particularly strong words for the EU’s incoming trade commissioner, Phil Hogan. He brands recent comments about Trump by the Irishman “very condescending.” On France’s push for a digital services tax, he pledges a “vigorous” attack and accuses Paris of trying to “dip their dipper into the stream of cashflow” from U.S. companies. Although he spoke before POLITICO broke the news that the World Trade Organisation ruled in favor of the U.S. in a dispute over Airbus subsidies, the ambassador makes clear how he sees that battle playing out. Sondland also talks about his conversations with the EU’s incoming leadership team and about hi…
Sep 12, 2019
Ep 116, presented by Bayer: Swedish Enviro Minister Isabella Lövin — Commission’s Green New Deal
The new episode of POLITICO's EU Confidential podcast is part of our "goes green" series. And the timing could hardly be better, with Ursula von der Leyen this week unveiling her team for the new European Commission — featuring a vice president for a European Green Deal. Our quartet of journalists from the EU's key capitals — Andrew Gray in Brussels, Rym Momtaz in Paris, Matthew Karnitschnig in Berlin and Annabelle Dickson in London — looks at von der Leyen's lineup (including some strange job titles). We ask: Just how green is Europe going to get under this new Commission? We hear from Swedish Environment Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin on her country’s plan to become climate neutral by 2045. And POLITICO's environment reporter Paola Tamma catches up with Youth for Climate coordinator Adelaïde Charlier. With global protests planned to coincide with the U.N. Climate Summit on September 23, Charlier sets out what her peers want from politicians and answers…
Sep 5, 2019
Ep 115, presented by the European Commission: Brexit drama — MEPs Caroline Voaden and Judith Bunting
Our brand new podcast focuses on the Brexit drama in London — but not just from a British perspective. POLITICO journalists Rym Momtaz (based in Paris), Matthew Karnitschnig (Berlin), Annabelle Dickson (London) and Andrew Gray (Brussels) bring you insights from across the Continent. With previous host Ryan Heath now in a new role at POLITICO in the U.S., this quartet from Europe’s key capitals will be your regular guides through European politics. Annabelle tells us what it was like to be in the House of Commons as Boris Johnson was defeated by a rebel alliance — and emotional MPs on both sides of the divide vented their anger. Rym and Matt bring us the French and German views of Brexit: Any chance Macron or Merkel will step in to seal a deal? In this week’s interview, newbie MEPs Caroline Voaden and Judith Bunting of Britain’s Liberal Democrats tell us what it’s like to get to grips with life in the European Parliament — and why they decided to make a podcast about it.…
Aug 30, 2019
Episode 114, presented by Shell: Ryan Heath signs off
In this episode the POLITICO team turns the tables on Ryan Heath, who finishes as host of EU Confidential this episode, and interviews him about the high, lows and changes he has seen in EU politics over the past 12 years. From next week the podcast will be hosted by Annabelle Dickson, Rym Momtaz and Matthew Karnitschnig.
Aug 22, 2019
Episode 113, presented by Citi: Megan Richards
Ryan Heath interviews Megan Richards, a Canadian who spent three decades working for the EU, rising to be one of its top officials in digital and later energy policy. It's a short episode this week, all the better to let you enjoy your holidays.
Aug 8, 2019
Episode 112, presented by Bayer: Electrification Alliance's Kristian Ruby
This week we’re going Green again: Ryan Heath talks to Kristian Ruby who runs Eurelectric and the Electrification Alliance, as a way to clean our energy systems. After that, POLITICO's Anca Gurzu takes a hydrogen-powered car for a wild test drive. It's all a world a way from where the EU started: as a coal trading community. After the greenest EU election ever, the question in Europe now isn't whether to go green, but how fast we should get there. We have a very special podcast panel this week. With summer holidays approaching and host Ryan Heath moving to POLITICO in the US, it's the last panel featuring the current trio. The podcast takes a brief summer break next week but we'll be back in a fortnight.
Aug 1, 2019
Episode 111 — Inside UK Parliament's groping, harassment, bullying problem; Jacob Rees-Mogg reaction
As Boris Johnson's begins his term as U.K. prime minister on a fast and furious Brexit course, Annabelle Dickson asks the Conservative leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg, and a group of U.K. Parliament staffers, what they think about a seemingly endless list of complaints and two official independent reports of bullying, harassment, and management in the U.K. Parliament, and what can be done to improve the institution's culture.
Jul 25, 2019
Episode 110: Author Peter May - Boris begins - Martin's move
Best-selling author Peter May talks about his political thriller set in Brussels, The Man With No Face, just republished four decades after he wrote it. Forget the heatwave sweeping the Continent and dive into a dark and wintry world of intrigue and murder as May describes the Brussels bubble of 40 years ago that formed the backdrop for the book. May talks about what has changed in Brussels and European politics since those days — and what has remained remarkably similar. The podcast panel brings things bang up to date with Boris Johnson's Westminster wizardry — he really is very good at that disappearing Cabinet trick — and Martin Selmayr's intriguing career move. Then it's back to the literary theme with some summer reading recommendations from our panelists: "Merde in Europe" by Stephen Clarke, "Freshwater" by Akwaeke Emezi, "Reporter: A Memoir" by Seymour Hersh, and "Uneasy Street: The Anxieties of Affluence" by Rachel Sherman.
Jul 18, 2019
Episode 109, presented by BP: Mette Grolleman — Debating EU presidency corporate sponsorship
Mette Grolleman runs the biggest lobbying office in Brussels — FleishmanHillard — and isn’t tempted to return to the Berlaymont to work for her old boss Margrethe Vestager: “When you leave, you have to leave,” she told EU Confidential. Grolleman’s new goal is to bring nuance to how outsiders understand the EU. The different sides of the Brussels bubble need each other to deliver a functioning whole, she said: “We are an ecosystem ... I valued [lobbyist input] when I was on the inside.” FleishmanHillard has good reason to explain its values to the world in 2019: it has been mired in a controversy over its campaign aimed at winning the reapproval of glyphosate, on behalf of Monsanto, now owned by Bayer. Grolleman demurred when asked whether the company got its tactics right: “I can't speak so much to a specific case a because all clients need and deserve respect and privacy around what we do with them. But what I can say in more general terms is that when you are e…
Jul 11, 2019
Episode 108 — Paul Adamson, godfather of Brussels lobbying scene
In our latest podcast episode, we discuss the life of a lobbyist, the latest in the Brussels hustle, and the recent transatlantic twitterstorm. This week’s feature interview is with Paul Adamson, the godfather of Brussels lobbying. He talks to Ryan about his 40-year career in the EU capital, how Boris Johnson hasn’t changed since his own whippersnapper days on the continent, and why lobbyists get a bad name. We spoke before U.K. ambassador Kim Darroch offered his resignation Wednesday. The regular podcast panel looks into top-job nominee Ursula von der Leyen’s vote-gathering efforts, and debates the fate of the UK’s now ex-ambassador in Washington DC, Kim Darroch.
Jul 4, 2019
Episode 107: Moonshot Venture's Mark MacGann —— President Ursula von der Leyen?
A surprise European Commission presidential nominee landed on Brussels this week: the polished and much-criticised defense minister of Germany, Ursula von der Leyen. The job is now hers to lose, and she might indeed lose it. German greens and socialists are furious about how the deal went down. Our main interview is with Mark MacGann: he’s a 25-year veteran of the EU’s tech and telecoms scene who runs Moonshot Ventures. We talk EU reform and how ended up needing 24/7 bodyguards during his time at Uber
Jun 27, 2019
Episode 106, presented by Bayer: Can capitalism save the planet?
In the latest in our occasional series focusing on green issues, we ask whether capitalism can save the planet. The European Commission held a sustainable finance conference this week, and two of our reporters went along to get beyond the hype. Tune in to hear them interview some of the conference participants, including the Commission's financial markets chief. On the podcast panel, we talk about the proponents and detractors of the 2050 climate-neutrality target discussed at last week’s EU summit. And away from the green theme, our panelists pick apart the rights and wrongs of the media coverage of Boris Johnson’s row with his partner.
Jun 20, 2019
Episode 105, presented by Romania's EU presidency: David Miliband & political rebrands
David Miliband speaks to POLITICO’s Brexit editor James Randerson in our feature interview this week. It’s delicious timing, given the U.K. is getting a new prime minister and the EU is getting a new slate of leaders. Had history taken just a slightly different path, Miliband could have been a big player in those events. He talks about Boris Johnson, why he thinks U.K. Labour’s Brexit policy is a disaster, the time he met the Belgian who saved his grandmother and aunt from Nazi concentration camps, and his views on how we can help the 70 million people on the run from conflict or persecution. On the podcast panel, we talk about the strong and weak points of recent efforts by European and American politicians to rebrand themselves and their parties, and then move to the easy-listening topic of Middle East peace and development.
Jun 13, 2019
Episode 104: Jean-Claude Juncker & Shada Islam
Hear European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in conversation with POLITICO's Florian Eder, discussing Trump, Brexit and more. Also this week, Shada Islam from think tank Friends of Europe talks to POLITICO's Ryan Heath about educating EU newbies on Asia and how to counter Islamophobia. In the podcast panel, POLITICO's EU editor Andrew Gray is joined by Lina Aburous, Alva Finn and Carmen Paun to discuss the battle for top EU jobs, Moldova's double-government trouble and how to respond if the U.S. president's son-in-law wants to drop by for a chat.
Jun 6, 2019
Episode 103: Danny Alexander — Debating the Trump visit
In a week full of world-shaping history, from the 75th D-Day anniversary to the 30th anniversary of the Tianamen Square massacre, our feature interview is with former U.K. Cabinet minister Danny Alexander. He flew in from Beijing to discuss his new work as vice president at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. They're bringing the annual meeting to Luxembourg next month. The podcast panel is Alva Finn and Ryan Heath flying solo on the Trump visit, a center-left win in Denmark's election, and whether or not the European Parliament is a "kangaroo court" as Nigel Farage claims.
May 30, 2019
Episode 102: Martin Selmayr — EU election results
A look back at the European Parliament election results, and a look ahead to the race for EU top jobs. Ryan Heath interviews Martin Selmayr, the powerful and controversial secretary-general of the European Commission, at a special POLITICO event the day after the election. Selmayr gives his insights on what it will take to install a new Commission, and what and who will shape its policy agenda. The podcast panel of Alva Finn and Lina Aburous debate the meaning of the partial liberal, green and Euroskeptic waves that took away the decades-long parliamentary majority enjoyed by the European People’s Party and Party of European Socialists.
May 23, 2019
Episode 101: Bruno Le Maire and EU election preview
Bruno Le Maire, French minister of economy and finance, outlines his big ambitions for collecting tax from giant companies, creating a eurozone budget and ensuring European sovereignty on key new technologies. Does it, or will it, amount to a "new capitalism"? You be the judge. In the podcast panel Lina Aburous is joined by POLITICO's polling expert Cornelius Hirsch, to discuss everything from the Austrian Ibizagate scandal to how right or wrong the EU election polls may be.
May 19, 2019
XX Factor Episode 5 — UK: Annunziata Rees-Mogg, and MPs Mary Creagh, Jo Swinson, and Helen Whately
After three years of divisive Brexit debate and voting in the United Kingdom, POLITICO's Annabelle Dickson surveyed the damage and opportunities that have arisen as British voters unexpectedly head to vote in the 2019 European Parliament election. How have Britain's political relationships changed? Why are female politicians a particular target of abuse? What other type of politics is possible? Annabelle interviewed Annunziata Rees-Mogg (Brexit Party MEP candidate), and MPs Mary Creagh (Labour), Jo Swinson (Liberal Democrat), and Helen Whately (Conservative).
May 16, 2019
**Episode 100** presented by Bayer: Air pollution, killing us softly?
For EU Green Week and EU Public Health Week, we go to an issue at the intersection of those themes: air quality. The World Health Organisation attributes up to seven million deaths annually to air pollution. The topic is getting political too, thanks to scandals like Dieselgate and a growing number of devices and apps that tell people exactly how exposed they are to the dangers. The EU is at the heart of these discussions: a would-be enforcer that doesn't do much enforcement, and which oversees contradictory monitoring systems. Here’s another thing to consider: unlike other deadly things you can breathe, like cigarette smoke, it’s a lot harder for individuals to control their exposure to air pollution.
May 9, 2019
Episode 99: Frans Timmermans and Margrethe Vestager, rivals for European Commission president
We have a double-header this week: interviews with both Frans Timmermans (Socialist) and Margrethe Vestager (Liberal), two rivals to become European Commission president. Ryan Heath and Nazan Gökdemir jointly interviewed the candidates as part of a television series for ARTE, the franco-german television network. In the podcast panel Alva Finn and Lina Aburous debate whether it was right to offer Jean-Claude Juncker a "European of the Year" award at the European Business Summit this week, and a new documentary about the Brexit negotiations, based on two years of insider footage following around the European Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt
May 7, 2019
XX Factor Episode 4 — What can Europe learn from around the world?
Hosted by Sarah Wheaton and featuring Corinna Horst, Lina Aburous, Jacinda Ardern and Lulwah Al Khater, this episode takes us from the Middle East to Mexico, and on to New Zealand, the United States and Rwanda to look at the challenges shared by women in politics, and what Europe can take away from those experiences.
May 2, 2019
Episode 98: EU Presidential Debate highlights
In this episode we offer you highlights from Monday's 95-minute EU presidential debate in Maastricht, co-moderated by EU Confidential host Ryan Heath. Five candidates debate on Digital Europe, Sustainable Europe and the Future of Europe. The podcast panel is back together to critique the debate and the five new far-right ministers who have joined the government of Estonia, even though two liberal parties won a majority of seats in the country's March election. If you want to here the full 95-minute presidential debate, you can listen to it at: https://soundcloud.com/ryanheatheu/2019-eu-presidential-debate-maastricht-full-length#t=7:49
Apr 25, 2019
Episode 97: Manfred Weber, EPP EU presidential candidate
This week it's a short episode: just a 20-minute interview with Manfred Weber, the person in pole position to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission president later this year. The interview was conducted by POLITICO's Ryan Heath and Nazan Gökdemir, a journalist from the Franco-German TV station ARTE, part of a series of interviews with six presidential candidates. You can binge-watch all the interviews on politico.eu. We focus on Weber this week, because next week's podcast will be highlights of the Maastricht EU presidential debate, featuring all the candidates and parties except Oriol Junqueras (who is in in pre-trial detention in Spain) and Weber, who is skipping the debate to attend a celebration of Theo Waigel, his fellow Bavarian politician and a political mentor. Before the interview Ryan speaks to Andrew Gray, POLITICO's EU editor, about Weber's side of the story.
Apr 23, 2019
XX Factor Episode 3: Women in election media coverage, featuring Marietje Schaake, and Italy
Why do female candidates and politicians receive more negative coverage than men, and why are they seen as less newsworthy? In this episode we look at the case study of Italy with POLITICO reporter Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli, and speak to one of the most high profile members of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake.
Apr 18, 2019
Episode 96, presented by BP: Decoding election betting, polling and journalism
The European Parliament has wrapped up its current five-year term, and the election campaign now enters into a final five-week sprint. This episode features a three-way discussion about what betting companies, opinion pollsters and journalists can tell us about election campaigns and results, featuring Cornelius Hirsch, co-founder of Poll of Polls, now with POLITICO; Eleni Varvitsioti, Brussels correspondent for Greek newspaper Kathimerini and Matthew Shaddick, head of political betting at Ladbrokes.
Apr 11, 2019
Episode 95: For & Against the EU — Sandro Gozi & Anders Vistisen
For or against the EU? It's the biggest European question of all — and we tackled it in a debate in front of an audience in Brussels this week as the EU election campaign gets into high gear. Hear highlights of the debate between Sandro Gozi, Italy's former Europe minister who is standing for Emmanuel Macron's party in the election, and Anders Vistisen, Danish MEP and member of the European Conservatives and Reformists group. EU Confidential host Ryan Heath plays referee in this heated contest. Find out which candidate compared Viktor Orbán to the unobtainable girl in high school and the migration crisis to the weather in Brussels. And if you haven't had a chance yet, check out our special episode from earlier this week, recorded in front of an audience in London at the Podcast Live event, featuring Emily Thornberry, Labour's shadow foreign secretary.
Apr 7, 2019
Episode 94: Emily Thornberry on Labour, Brexit and foreign policy
Emily Thornberry, the U.K. Labour Party’s shadow foreign secretary, is our guest in this special edition of EU Confidential. The show was recorded on Sunday in London in front of an audience at Podcast Live, an event that brought together political podcasts from around the U.K. and beyond. In conversation with POLITICO’s Ryan Heath, Jack Blanchard and Annabelle Dickson, Thornberry calls for her party to support a new referendum on any Brexit deal agreed between Labour and the U.K. government. She explains why she thinks Britain should hold an inquiry into how Brexit was handled. She also speaks of her disgust at the latest anti-Semitism allegations to hit her party. And she tackles everything from Saudi Arabia to China on the foreign policy front. Find out whether she would ever own a Huawei phone and what she thinks is her biggest political mistake. The show closes with a panel discussion featuring regular EU Confidential panelist Lina Aburous and POLITICO’s EU editor, Andrew…
Apr 4, 2019
Episode 93, presented by Bayer: MEP climate debate — Can the EU avert disaster?
Are we headed for climate disaster, and is the EU the solution? That's the question we ask in the second episode of "EU Confidential Goes Green,” the occasional series in which we zoom in on climate and sustainability challenges. Six Members of the European Parliament from across the political spectrum and around the Continent debated the question, and others, at the recent POLITICO European Elections Great Debate. Ryan Heath hosted the debate, which took place on April 2 in Brussels, between Mark Demesmaeker, Fredrick Federley, Jo Leinen, Marisa Matias, Adina Vălean and Thomas Waitz. This episode features highlights from their discussion. This weekend EU Confidential goes to London, where you can see and hear the team in action: we’re live on-stage this Sunday, April 7 from 2:30 to 3:30 pm at the Podcast Live festival. Our special guest will be Emily Thornberry, the U.K. Labour Party's Shadow Foreign Secretary. You can buy tickets to our show for £12, or an all-day ticket for…
Mar 28, 2019
Episode 92, presented by Bayer: Amanda Eichel and Stockholm mayor Anna König Jerlmyr
The first of six special EU Confidential Goes Green episodes between March and September 2019. This episode is all about cities and features interviews with Amanda Eichel, executive director of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and Anna König Jerlmyr, the mayor of Stockholm & president of EUROCITIES. The Swedish capital is growing fast but shrinking its emissions — by 58 percent since 1990 — at the same time. The podcast panel dives into the Yellow Jackets, talk of a Green Wave in European politics, and asks why Manfred Weber, the center-right candidate to be the next European Commission president, is missing from the climate debate.
Mar 26, 2019
XX Factor 2 – MEP Mairead McGuinness and the women shaking up Irish politics
Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness, vice president of the European Parliament from Ireland’s ruling Fine Gael party, talks Brexit, the Irish border and about her interest in throwing her hat in the ring to be president of the next European Parliament, if reelected in May. But back home in Ireland, just one in five elected representatives are women. There’s never been a woman prime minister, neither of the two biggest parties have ever been led by a woman, and while there have been women ministers, they haven’t occupied the big-ticket ministries of finance, foreign affairs and defense. Are things about to be shaken up in May’s elections, at the local and the European level? Following the political activism surrounding the repeal of Ireland’s constitutional abortion ban, POLITICO correspondent Naomi O’Leary talks to some of the women shaking up the Irish political landscape.
Mar 21, 2019
Episode 91: EU summit — Brexit, Orbán & liberals — Flemish Culture Minister Sven Gatz
It's a summit special this week. POLITICO’s Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz and Florian Eder discussed the topic du jour, Brexit, as EU leaders gathered in Brussels. They also chewed over Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party being suspended from the European People’s Party and the Continent's liberals entering the EU election fray. Keeping in mind that some things are bigger than politics, it’s a week of reflection in Brussels, three years on from the March 22 terrorist attacks on the city’s Zaventem airport and Maalbeek metro station. We try to gain some perspective with Flemish Culture Minister Sven Gatz, whose new book “Molenbeek/Maalbeek: A Brussels Tale” delves into the stories of seven fictional individuals on March 22, 2016. The book is as much about this "lowest point in decades" as it is about Brussels, the city, which is full of people “living side-by-side but not together,” in the words of Gatz. We also check in again with polling guru Cornelius Hirsch of pollofpolls.eu…
Mar 14, 2019
Episode 90, presented by Naftogaz: Twitter's Nick Pickles — Syria conference — AKK's vision
Nick Pickles, Twitter’s senior policy strategist, is our main guest. He responds to heated criticism of Twitter’s handling of free expression, misogyny, disinformation and transparency. “Increasingly, problems have tech components, but often societal problems can’t be solved by technology alone,” he says. We also check in with polling guru Cornelius Hirsch, hashing out the details of what could happen if the U.K. votes in the European election. Our podcast panel discusses this week’s Syria conference in Brussels — and debates the tepid response from Germany’s Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance vision. And following up on a recent promise, we crunched the numbers to determine the balance between men and women featured on the podcast. Over the last year, 68 men were featured guests, compared to 44 women. Although it's not an exact science, we also had a shot at measuring total air time. Factoring in our podcast panelists Lina Aburous and Alva F…
Mar 12, 2019
XX Factor 1 - Women, power and the EU election
Welcome to the first episode of our new mini-series on women, power and the EU election — a fortnightly spin-off podcast from POLITICO's EU Confidential. Our timing for episode one could hardly be better. EU leaders like Manfred Weber, Frans Timmermans and Margrethe Vestager are clamoring to demand gender parity in EU institutions. In this episode, POLITICO's Lili Bayer speaks with Belgian MEP Maria Arena about the current status of women in politics. At the rate we're going, it would take 107 years to overcome the gap in women’s political representation worldwide. And the situation in Europe isn't much better. We also hear a debate between some of Europe's youngest aspiring female election candidates, including Svenja Hahn, liberal MEP candidate from Germany, Tuulia Pitkänen, socialist MEP candidate from Finland, and Ana Lidia Pereira, who was selected as an MEP candidate this week for her center-right party in Portugal. Look out for our next next episode in a couple of weeks, wh…
Mar 7, 2019
Episode 89: UAE parliament president Amal Al-Qubaisi — Polling guru Cornelius Hirsch
This week’s podcast features Amal Al Qubaisi, president of the United Arab Emirates' Federal National Council, making her perhaps the most senior female politician in the Arab world. We cover a lot of territory including the blockade against Qatar and why the UAE proclaimed 2019 to be the Year of Tolerance. We're also taking the opportunity of International Women's Day to launch a special new EU Confidential podcast mini-series called The XX Factor, on women, power and European election. Listen to the teaser here: https://soundcloud.com/ryanheatheu/the-xxfactor-teaser-a-special-eu-confidential-series In other election-related news, Cornelius Hirsch is joining us as a regular guest on the podcast. He's the co-founder of pollofpolls.eu, Europe's answer to FiveThirtyEight. POLITICO bought pollofpolls.eu last week, and we'll be integrating their charts and insights in the coming weeks. The podcast panel of Lina Aburous and Alva Finn discusses diversity on-stage, tackling the question…
Feb 28, 2019
Episode 88: Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand Prime Minister
In a week of geopolitical ping-pong we take a break to dive deeper into the politics of well-being and what it takes to be a great political communicator, with the 38-year-old prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, who joined Ryan Heath in front of a live audience at the POLITICO office in Brussels. In the podcast panel we discuss the dangers of dialogue with dictators, and what a public body should do when one of its staff stands trial for raping a junior colleague. Next week you can look forward to the first instalment of new regular feature: Ryan will be discussing European opinion polls with Cornelius Hirsch, the founder of pollofpolls.eu.
Feb 21, 2019
Episode 87 — Richard Grenell and Miroslav Lajčák at the Munich Security Conference
This week’s podcast focuses on the Munich Security Conference, one of the big events on the global political calendar. It features two interviews from POLITICO’s chief Europe correspondent Matt Karnitschnig, who sat down with Rick Grenell, the outspoken U.S. ambassador to Berlin, and Slovakia’s veteran Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák. Grenell and Lajčák provided their divergent impressions of the conference and transatlantic relations. They also addressed the palpably divisive issues of the Iran nuclear deal and the general tone emanating from Washington, among other topics. We also spoke with POLITICO’s chief Brussels correspondent David Herszenhorn, one of our reporters who covered the event, to get an insider’s impression of this year’s “tense” conference.
Feb 19, 2019
Episode 86: Jeremy Hunt, UK Foreign Secretary
U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt talks to POLITICO's Ryan Heath in this extra edition of our podcast. Hunt once took heavy fire from Brussels for making a comparison that invoked the EU and the Soviet Union. But he's been much more diplomatic lately in his dealings with the EU. In this exclusive interview in our Brussels office, he talks extensively about Brexit. “It’s massively in everyone’s interest to get back to stability,” Hunt says, adding that he hopes negotiations between London and Brussels will yield a revised deal “in the next few days.” A quick resolution is necessary, Hunt says, “for the sake of sanity of the population of Britain and indeed of Europe.” In addition to Brexit, Hunt discusses Huawei, Facebook, the Iran nuclear deal and more.
Feb 14, 2019
Episode 85: UK Labour's John McDonnell — Is Strasbourg tearing MEP families apart?
This week's feature interview is a 15-minute highlight reel from John McDonnell's already famous interview with POLITICO's London Playbook editor Jack Blanchard. In addition to discussing Brexit next steps and Labour's anti-Semitism challenges, the U.K. shadow chancellor landed himself in hot water by describing Britain's wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill as a "villain" for sending in the army to tackle a miners' strike in 1910. The question now: Did McDonnell successfully tackle a taboo, or simply prove that the current Labour opposition is unelectable? The podcast panel of Alva Finn, and POLITICO's new Paris correspondent Rym Momtaz, advise an anonymous MEP who wrote to POLITICO to say that the pressure of living and working in three cities (their home city, Brussels and Strasbourg) is tearing families apart. To continue the family theme, we also discuss Viktor Orbán's new policy in Hungary: exempting the mothers of four or more children from income tax.
Feb 7, 2019
Episode 84: The Bellingcat team — Marietje Schaake MEP — U.S ambassador to EU Gordon Sondland
This week we bring you the revenge of the geeks! Bellingcat is the world's most surprising and one of its most successful journalism ventures. Founder Eliot Higgins and senior investigator Christiaan Triebert explain what open source investigation is, and how they used it to get to the bottom of modern mysteries, including tracking down the Skripal poisoning suspect and identifying the people and weapons that took down the MH17 flight over Ukraine. We're joined by Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake who brought a new documentary — "Bellingcat: Truth in a post-truth world" — to Parliament this week. Listen to the end to find out how an 11 year-old's school project inspired Bellingcat's latest efforts ... in illegal wildlife trafficking. We also bring you snippets of U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland who visited POLITICO's office this morning after Donald Trump's State of the Union speech with messages about trade relations, China and EU bureaucracy. The podcast panel discusses…
Jan 31, 2019
Episode 83: Facebook's Nick Clegg
Facebook's new global head of public affairs gives his first public interview since starting the job to Ryan Heath. Clegg addresses a growing number of Facebook controversies and outlines the company's plan to win back trust and contribute to democracy. The podcast panel debates Facebook's efforts, the latest developments in the Macedonia name dispute, and Margot Wallström's admission that she can't forgive the British government for Brexit
Jan 24, 2019
Episode 82, presented by BP: Wopke Hoekstra — Sarah Kate Ellis — Brok rocked
POLITICO's Ryan Heath brings you two podcasts in one from the World Economic Forum — our final daily Davos Confidential show also doubles as your regular weekly EU Confidential. (Check out the other Davos Confidential shows wherever you found this podcast.) Ryan talks to Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra about Brexit, what worries him about the EU and why people should vote in May's European Parliament election. Ryan also speaks to Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, an organization working to accelerate LGBTQ acceptance, including at the WEF. Back in Brussels, POLITICO's EU editor Andrew Gray reviews the week's news with panelists Lina Aburous, Alva Finn and Carmen Paun. They discuss POLITICO's report that veteran MEP Elmark Brok netted surpluses from charges to constituents who visited him at the European Parliament; Donald Tusk raining on Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel's parade as they signed the Treaty of Aachen; Brexiteer James Dyson's decision to move his compa…
Jan 23, 2019
Davos Confidential 2019: Ep 3 - Amnesty's Kumi Naidoo — WHO chief Tedros
Kumi Naidoo, secretary-general of Amnesty International, talks to POLITICO's Ryan Heath in our latest pop-up podcast from the World Economic Forum. Ryan also sums up his impressions of the WEF so far and talks to World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Wellcome Trust boss Jeremy Farrar about global efforts to improve mental health.
Jan 22, 2019
Davos Confidential 2019: Ep 2 - Helle Thorning-Schmidt & Tim Berners-Lee
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the former Danish prime minister and current head of Save the Children International, is our main guest in today’s pop-up podcast from the World Economic Forum. Speaking before an audience at a live taping of the podcast in Davos, Thorning-Schmidt talks to POLITICO's Ryan Heath about everything from children’s rights to Brexit to her own future. Also today, Ryan chats to Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web, about abuse of the internet and what the tech community can do about it. To get more from the POLITICO team at the WEF, sign up for the daily Davos Playbook, the essential mid-morning briefing: www.politico.eu/davos-playbook-registration/ And keep up with the news in Davos as it happens on POLITICO’s live blog:https://www.politico.eu/article/davos-world-economic-forum-live-blog/
Jan 21, 2019
Davos Confidential 2019: Ep 1 - Setting the scene — Nico Rosberg — Resilience ratings
POLITICO’s Ryan Heath is back with another series of daily podcasts from the World Economic Forum. In our first episode of the 2019 edition, Ryan asks Huffpost international director Louise Roug if all the chatter about tackling inequality will amount to anything more than Davos-speak. Ex-Formula One driver Nico Rosberg tells us about the mobility revolution that drove him to Davos. And Ryan asks FTI Consulting’s data guru Dan Healy if big companies across the G20 are really ready to face 21st century challenges such as climate change and cyber crime. To get more from the POLITICO team at the WEF, sign up for the daily Davos Playbook, the essential mid-morning briefing: https://www.politico.eu/davos-playbook-registration/ And keep up with the news in Davos as it happens on POLITICO’s live blog from 8AM CET Tuesday 22nd January: https://www.politico.eu/article/davos-world-economic-forum-live-blog/
Jan 17, 2019
Episode 81: Historian Felix Klos — Divided Europe in data
As the winds of right-wing populism sweep through the world's biggest democracies, from India to the United States, and Brazil to the European Union, and the United Kingdom continues to tear itself apart, we take a step back in this week's podcast to consider Churchill and Europe. Our feature interview is with the young Dutch historian Felix Klos, who was born the year the European Union was created, 1992 . As the author of Churchill on Europe, and a prospective member of the European Parliament, Klos is not your average 26-year-old. Klos speaks of Churchill as the ugly duckling of the EU's founding family, but its most crucial member. "If there's anything that we can pinpoint to Churchill's legacy it's this: it's being able to analyze the problem then coming up with a solution that works and then having the courage to tell the people that you represent something they don't like to hear." The podcast panel debate 2019 European election data points showing how divided Europe is. You…
Jan 10, 2019
Episode 80: Netflix's David Hyman
Netflix plans 153 original shows in Europe in 2019, worrying local broadcasters and delighting consumers. That level of ambition also leaves the company burning through billions in cash. The week's featured guest is David Hyman, general counsel at Netflix. The podcast panel of Lina Aburous and Alva Finn discusses the European Commission's efforts to brand 2019 as being about delivery, destiny and democracy, and we remember the highs and lows of the "father of the house" of the European Parliament, Elmar Brok, dumped this week by his party after 38 years.
Jan 3, 2019
Episode 79: Gayle Smith — New Year's resolutions & predictions
Gayle Smith, a former journalist and now campaigner against extreme poverty, is our main guest. In our podcast panel, Alva Finn and Lina Aburous discuss the U.K. policy of making victims of forced marriages pay for their own flights home if they are rescued by the British government. And we make our political predictions for 2019. Smith, CEO and president of the ONE campaigning group, tells host Ryan Heath that after 20 years highlighting the effects of genocide and war, she couldn’t resist the chance to prevent one. So began stints in the Clinton and Obama administrations, before her role at ONE, which brought her to Brussels to argue for EU investments that would keep 33 million children in school during the bloc's 2021-2027 budget period. How does Smith harness the mega-celebrity of ONE founder, Irish rocker Bono? “He brings his fame into the world and people may be excited to meet Bono the rock star, but by the time he leaves the room they feel like, well, that’s Bono the s…
Dec 20, 2018
Episode 78: Carles Puigdemont — Ai Weiwei — Tajani awards
Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei are our main guests, interviewed live on stage by POLITICO's Ryan Heath. Also, panelists Alva Finn and Lina Aburous join Ryan to look back on 2018 and bestow EU Confidential's prestigious Tajani awards on those who have made an outstanding contribution to the political year. EU Confidential takes a brief festive break next week but we'll be back in the New Year. Best seasonal wishes to all our listeners — thanks for all your support and feedback in 2018!
Dec 13, 2018
Episode 77: EU presidential contender Frans Timmermans — Tibor Navracsics
Double-header this week: socialist candidate for European Commission president Frans Timmermans and the European Commissioner for sport, education and culture, Tibor Navracsics. The panel debates Britain's mid-life crisis a.k.a Brexit
Dec 6, 2018
Episode 76, presented by Ericsson: Carlos Moedas - Macron's climb down - Denmark's immigration plan
We talk to Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for innovation, research and science, about his passion for zero-emission cities, artificial intelligence and blockchain. The panel debates the Yellow Jackets eco-tax protest movement in France, and Denmark’s plan to send migrant criminals to an isolated island.
Nov 29, 2018
Episode 75, presented by Google: Debating Diversity — Hillary's migrant misfire
We return to the theme of diversity in Brussels, a year after POLITICO’s Brussels So White article series, which looked at racial diversity and related themes in the EU’s de facto capital. The interview guests are two high-ranking lobbyists and public relations strategists, Lisa Ross and Gurpreet Brar from Edelman, who speak about their personal experiences of Brussels as people of color. Ross told us that “it is really important to not flip the dominance. I sent off a team to do a multimillion-dollar pitch. They were all women. And as we were preparing, I worried 'oh my God, we've got an all-female team' because isn't that the same as having an all-male team? Isn't that the same as having an all-white team?” Brar said: “My identity is extremely complex. I grew up in a household of Indian parents, ate Indian food. I listened to Bollywood music. I watch Ru Paul’s drag race and I was a gay man that was trying to deal with my sexuality growing up in a very, very impoverishe…
Nov 22, 2018
Episode 74 presented by Tetra Pak: The Green episode, with Ska Keller, Bas Eickhout, Petra De Sutter
Greens are riding high as they gather in Berlin this weekend for their co-candidates for European Commission president in 2019. A string of national and regional electoral successes in Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg are the reason for the positive mood. But the Greens are also only a tiny force in much of the EU. This episode features Ska Keller, Bas Eickhout and Petra Sutter: the three candidates competing for the Green nomination. They pitch to you why it’s time to go green, what they’re doing to change the status quo in Europe, and what they’ll do if, as seems likely, they poll in the single digits across Europe and miss out on the top job.
Nov 15, 2018
Episode 73, presented by Future Europe Podcast: Rose Gottemoeller — Brexit deal — Merkel's vision
Rose Gottemoeller, NATO's deputy-secretary general, is our main guest this week. She's the highest-ranking female official in the history of the military alliance — or, as Gottemoeller herself puts it, "the first deputy secretary-general of NATO who happens to be a woman.” Gottemoeller talks about Russia’s turn from the west, and how attitudes to women have changed in the national security world since she began her career in the 1970s — and what needs to happen to change them further. Our Brussels Brains Trust of Lina Aburous and Alva Finn debate the big stories of the week — Theresa May's fight for political survival after sealing a Brexit deal, and Angela Merkel's speech to the European Parliament outlining her vision for the EU.
Nov 8, 2018
Episode 72, presented by EFPIA: Bill Browder & Russia — US midterms — Picking politicians
Our main guest is Bill Browder, once the largest foreign investor in Russia but now a fierce critic of Vladimir Putin. He’s the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act — legislation designed to impose severe financial and travel sanctions on human rights abusers. Browder tells our chief Brussels correspondent, David Herszenhorn, the story behind the act and how he’s trying to bring it into the EU. Also this week, the European People’s Party chose Manfred Weber as its lead candidate for the European Parliament election. But how much of a contest was it? Weber looked to have it wrapped up from the start. Our Brussels Brains Trust debates the best way to pick political candidates. We also chew over what the U.S. midterms mean for Europe — and how worried Europe should be about Russian interference in elections. With Ryan Heath getting married (again — same husband, different continent!), news editor Andrew Gray fills in as host.
Nov 1, 2018
Episode 71, presented by Google: Malin Björk & Merkel's legacy
With Europe's eyes glued to Berlin this week as the effects of Angela Merkel's partial retirement are digested, this podcast episode looks at what happens now that she has more time to devote to EU-level challenges and reforms, but less political capital to spend on them. And what of Europe's increasingly fragmenting political center? A different European party runs each of the five biggest EU countries. The biggest party, the EPP, runs only one of the 12 biggest countries — Germany. Our interview guest this week is the left-wing Swedish MEP Malin Björk, one of the key players in Brussels on the EU’s controversial and sometimes unenforced refugee policies. She made the issue her priority because “it's a matter of life and death ... what kind of continent are we going to be?” In general, Björk doesn’t like the direction the EU is headed in, and she isn’t afraid to say so. She supports a 50-50 Parliament in terms of gender and in 2014 encouraged others on board a plane to…
Oct 25, 2018
Episode 70, presented by Thai Union: Special Oceans-themed episode with Karmenu Vella, Werner Hoyer
First up Justine Maillot from the Surfrider Foundation, a group of activists pushing for healthy oceans from the bottom-up. Then we speak to Davide Magnana who is trying to build an industry based on wave and tidal power, and Werner Hoyer, president of the European Investment Bank: the man Europe turns to when it doesn't have enough money to solve a pressing problem. Finally, European commissioner Karmenu Vella speaks of oceans as “a goldmine we instead treat like a landfill.” Our podcast panel this week discusses the cultural reasons why our public debates seem to be careening out of control.
Oct 18, 2018
Episode 69, presented by Corteva Agriscience: Bill Gates and Emmanuel Macron's youth wing
Bill Gates — billionaire tech founder turned philanthropist — is the main guest on this week's podcasts. We focus on why Europe is an aid superpower, what support Africa needs to cope with its exploding population, and why there's reason to believe the world is getting better. The podcast panel compares the world views of Gates and the nationalists winning support across Europe.
Oct 11, 2018
Episode 68, presented by UNESDA: Manfred Weber wants to recast the European Commission presidency
In a wide-ranging interview Weber says Brussels is a "black box" that is disconnected from most Europeans (though he leads its biggest party in the European Parliament). His campaign pitch puts a premium on changing how the job of European Commission president is done: “When there are fires in Sweden or in Portugal and people dying in Greece, I think a commission president must be there to show up, to be present with the concerns of the people," Weber said.
Oct 4, 2018
Episode 67, Alexander Stubb on why he should be European Commission president
Alexander Stubb lays out his pitch for the European Commission presidency in this week's episode. Stubb is competing with Manfred Weber to be the European Peoples Party's candidate for the post in 2019. Stubb is leaning on his experience as a former prime minister and on a sharp expression of values. Nordic moderate, pragmatic and "a true European believer" who wants a "liberal democracy not an illiberal democracy.” Stubb says European values are under attack from "the U.S., China, Russia and from the inside" meaning countries like Poland, Italy, Romania, and Hungary. After claiming to be a "next generation" EU leader, Stubb (who is 50) joked that he's "next generation with bifocals." Can you guess who he names as his political hero?
Sep 27, 2018
Episode 66, presented by Qualcomm: OSCE chief — Montenegro's foreign minister — MEP expenses
Ukraine, the Balkans, MEPs' expenses, fake news and fallout from the Salzburg summit are all on the menu this week. Our main guests are Thomas Greminger, head of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Montenegrin Foreign Minister Srdjan Darmanovic. News editor Andrew Gray stands in again as host for the honeymooning Ryan Heath. But Ryan still features in the podcast, with an interview he recorded with Greminger, secretary general of the OSCE, at the European Forum Alpbach in Austria. Greminger talks to Ryan about the OSCE's role in keeping a lid on the conflict in Ukraine — and what it will take to create a lasting peace there. Before that, POLITICO's chief Europe correspondent Matthew Karnitschnig talks us through his interview with Montenegrin Foreign Minister Darmanovic at another gathering with a mountain backdrop — the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia. Darmanovic talks about Donald Trump suggesting World War III could start in Montenegro, relations with…
Sep 20, 2018
Episode 65, presented by Google: Emily O'Reilly — Vestager vs. German carmakers — Macron's job tips
EU watchdog Emily O'Reilly is our main guest this week. Before heading off to get married, regular host Ryan Heath sat down for a candid chat with the European ombudsman in Strasbourg. Among the many topics covered: the Irish former journalist's investigation into the European Commission’s promotion of Martin Selmayr — Jean-Claude Juncker’s right-hand man — and why O'Reilly believes that Donald Trump shows transparency has its limits. News editor Andrew Gray steps into Ryan's shoes to host the show and chats to Christian Oliver, POLITICO's competition and trade editor, and Nick Vinocur, technology editor and former Paris correspondent, about some of the week's big stories. They discuss EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager's move against German carmakers and Amazon — and ponder Emmanuel Macron's advice to an unemployed gardener.
Sep 13, 2018
Episode 64, presented by Qualcomm: Lyor Cohen — Alain Deneef — Democracy festival
This week, a bona fide music mogul. Lyor Cohen has been in the business for 37 years, working with musicians who define memories and eras — think the Beastie Boys, Run DMC and Public Enemy, all signed by his iconic Def Jam label. These days, Cohen is YouTube’s global head of music. He spoke to EU Confidential ahead of this week’s big vote on copyright in the European Parliament. He talks about how the music business has changed and how he sees its future. Also this week, we talk to Alain Deneef, the founder of a new festival of European democracy called Jubel, taking place on September 22 in Brussels. Deneef explains the ideas behind the festival — and promises that, even though it’s in the European quarter, there will be no men in suits.
Sep 6, 2018
Episode 63, presented by Qualcomm: Dimitris Avramopoulos — Selmayrgate — Election fever
Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European commissioner for migration, sets out how the Commission plans to fighting back against populist attempts to hijack the migration agenda. Avramopoulos outlines controversial tactics: working with hardliners to achieve one of their goals, controlled migration flows, but with different means. The Commission plans to propose next week a "genuine border police" to ensure a “controlled and orderly” migration system, and to increase returns of people whose applications for asylum are rejected. He calls populist leaders like Italy's Matteo Salvini “smart,” but says they "do not offer practical European solutions on migration.“ Our podcast panel discusses the EU watchdog's conclusion that the Commission possibly "overstretched" the rules in appointing Martin Selmayr as its top civil servant. And we also look at the latest maneuvering as the European election campaign gets into gear.
Aug 30, 2018
Episode 62 — Inside Europe's right-wing extremist groups with Julia Ebner
This week's episode revolves around two political hot topics: how Europe should manage the growth of far-right politics across the continent, and whether to support redrawing the borders of Serbia and Kosovo along ethnic lines. Julia Ebner, author of The Rage, is a fascinating interview: she takes you inside far-right parties and networks, how they organize, why they appeal to certain people, and what we can expect from Steve Bannon's "ability to be a chaos agent” as he moves into the fringes of European politics ahead of the 2019 European election.
Aug 23, 2018
Episode 61: Brexit scenarios unpacked — Headscarf-free holidays
This week we hit peak Barnier — the height of the EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier's influence — and the U.K. published its Brexit no-deal contingency plans. We run through the dangers and the dramas ahead with Jill Rutter and Joe Owen from the Institute for Government in London. On the podcast panel with Lina Aburous and Alva Finn, we discuss their reactions to a Swiss holiday accommodation business that's decided to ban women who wear headscarfs.
Aug 16, 2018
Episode 60: Summer stories — Tattoos to potatoes — Bridge blame game
This week, we mix the format up: not one guest, but many. We've asked POLITICO reporters to talk us through stand-out stories they've produced this summer. Ginger Hervey and Jillian Deutsch talk about the EU getting under the skin of the tattoo industry, and its 4,000 unregulated chemicals. (https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-tackles-tattoo-ink-safety-regulation-inking-european-chemicals-agency/) Carmen Paun discusses her postcard from Romania, reflecting on how emigration has changed a village she's known since childhood. (https://www.politico.eu/article/intorsura-romania-village-migration-feels-the-countrys-emigration-pain/) Kait Bolangaro goes on a field trip: to visit a potato farmer who's had his crop wiped out by the heat, threatening supplies of the national dish of frites. (https://www.politico.eu/article/belgian-frites-fry-in-the-heat-summer-drought-french-fries/) And Simon Marks walks us through his investigation revealing Greece's lifeline to the Syrian regime through t…
Aug 9, 2018
Episode 59: Inside the House of European History
This week's interview is with Constanze Itzel, the director of the EU museum, the House of European History, in Brussels. Listen to hear her views on fake memory, conscious distortion of history, and her battle with people who think the museum is too critical of the EU. The panel discusses the heatwave, green churches and Swedish police shooting dead an intellectually disabled man who was holding a toy gun.
Aug 2, 2018
Episode 58: Labor market secrets — EU school rules — Summit entry fee
In this week's main interview, we hear from Sue Duke, the global head of public policy for LinkedIn. She reveals the labor market lessons to be learned from data on the company's 167 million users in Europe. We also talk about how to handle — and how not to handle — the topic of pregnancy in the workplace. The podcast panel of Lina Aburous and Alva Finn debate cost-shifting in Belgium: The country is apparently happy to pay for a new school for the children of EU officials — but wants to charge Belgium-based journalists to attend EU summits.
Jul 26, 2018
Episode 57: Johannes Hahn — Western Balkans — Trump-Juncker love-in
Johannes Hahn, European commissioner for enlargement negotiations and neighborhood policy, talks us through the Western Balkans. It's a region whose countries desperately want into the EU club, but which still has a lot of work to do in overcoming the legacies of the wars of the 1990s, including corruption and organized crime. Hahn warns against China using countries like Montenegro as a Trojan Horse to get into EU decision-making, and pushes back against Emmanuel Macron's view that the EU needs to focus on cleaning up and renovating its own house, rather than enlarging. Did you know? Hahn, like President Donald Trump, takes Coca-Cola at the meeting table and holidays in Scotland. (But the similarities end there.) His job will also grow with Brexit: the U.K. will become part of Hahn's remit as a "third country" in Europe's own neighborhood. Trump and Juncker's love-in: Our podcast panel weighs in on peace breaking out at the White House, Steve Bannon's plan to conquer Europe and the…
Jul 19, 2018
Episode 56: Phil Hogan — Amélie de Montchalin (En Marche) — Juncker and Trump stumble
Amélie de Montchalin, a French member of Parliament with Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche party explains why its undemocratic to finalise the EU’s next seven-year budget ahead of the 2019 EU election. European agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan talks about how farming needs to change, Brexit, and trade deals. The panel discusses the EU's €4.3 billion fine against Google, and how to handle a leader when they stumble, literally and politically.
Jul 12, 2018
Episode 55, presented by Raytheon: Inside the NATO summit
A special defense-themed episode take you inside this week’s tense NATO summit and discusses the new specialism of 24/7 POTUS management. The stellar line-up includes United States Ambassadors Alexander Vershbow and Daniel Fried; Beatrice Fihn who leads ICAN an anti-nuclear and Nobel Peace Prize-winning campaign group; Brookings Institution’s Constanze Stelzenmüller and journalist Paul Taylor.
Jul 5, 2018
Episode 54: NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg — Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki — EU Parliament expense shock
A bumper episode featuring NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg who’s got a present for Donald Trump ahead of next week’s NATO summit in Brussels, and Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who has presided of the sacking of 27 Polish judges this week, but who is at pains in our interview to explain what he likes about the EU and Jean-Claude Juncker. The podcast panel discussing a whirlwind of good deeds, hypocrisy and protest at the European Parliament this week.
Jun 28, 2018
Episode 53, presented by Google: Wolfgang Schäuble — Danny McCoy — EU's Migration Troubles
It’s summit week: crammed with migration and Trump and eurozone and Brexit and will-Merkel-stay-or-go drama. One man who could benefit greatly from Merkel going is Wolfgang Schäuble, her long-time rival and finance minister, now president of the Bundestag, the German Parliament. He’s our first interview guest, followed by Danny McCoy, the head of the Irish business lobby Ibec, who talks Brexit and why Ireland has upped its lobbying game in Brussels The podcast panel tries to unpack why so much of what EU leaders are saying about migration is either unrealistic or not addressing some of the key problems.
Jun 21, 2018
Episode 52, presented by Martens Centre: Women Rule! - Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka - Rome's Roma rhetoric
This week’s theme is Women Rule! Our feature interview is with Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of U.N. Women, who’s got passionate views about violence, #MeToo and more. Mlambo-Ngcuka spoke to POLITICO reporter Ginger Hervey, who joins us to put the conversation in context. Our podcast panel gets into the World Cup spirit with a series of "EU kick-offs" and "EU red cards" as we chew over the Italian government’s views on its Roma communities, and the political strategy of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
Jun 14, 2018
Episode 51: Helle Thorning-Schmidt — European Parliament election — Migration debate
Helle Thorning Schmidt, the former Danish PM who's now head of Save the Children International, is our main guest. Host Ryan Heath asks her about tackling populism and who should lead Europe. Ryan also talks to Jaume Duch, who runs communications for the European Parliament and is in charge of spending a whopping €30m to tell people about next year's election. And our podcast panel debates the rights and wrongs of denying the right to dock to the Aquarius, the ship carrying 629 migrants rescued from the Mediterranean.
Jun 7, 2018
Episode 50, presented by Google: How NGOs lobby the EU — OSF's Patrick Gaspard — Leaders get younger
A blockbuster episode, our 50th, in which three guests from the world of NGOs talk about the joys of their work and their frustrations at dealing with the EU and national governments. Our first 50 episodes featured nine current national leaders, eight European commissioners and lots of other senior politicians: now it’s time to hear from the other side. Jana Hainsworth is the president of Social Platform, a network of 170 NGOs, and secretary-general of one of its members, Eurochild; Patrick Gaspard is the president of the Open Society Foundations, founded by George Soros; and Evelyne Paradis runs ILGA Europe, an LGBTI advocacy group. Also this week, our podcast panel discusses a new generation of politicians who’ve brought the average age of EU leaders under 50 for the first time.
May 31, 2018
Episode 49, sponsored by Barilla Foundation: Nicola Sturgeon — Journalist's revival — Irish vote
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon talks to host Ryan Heath in an interview recorded in front of an audience at POLITICO's Brussels HQ. Sturgeon shares her views on Brexit, the chances of Britain remaining in a customs union with the EU, and another Scottish independence vote. Our podcast panel discusses a Ukraine WTF — the faked murder of a journalist — and looks back on the Irish referendum that gave women the right to choose an abortion.
May 24, 2018
Episode 48: Big tech’s brain hijack — Data protection D-Day — Zuckerberg’s Brussels moment
It’s a tech special this week — but you don’t have to be a geek to understand any of it. Host Ryan Heath talks to Tristan Harris, who spent three years as a design ethicist at Google and has been called “the closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience.” He’s the co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology, an organization with a bold mission: “to stop technology hijacking our minds.” Ryan also speaks to Paul Jordan of the International Association of Privacy Professionals about Europe’s new blockbuster data privacy regulation, the GDPR. Paul explains what all those messages clogging up our inboxes mean for governments, companies and individuals. Switching from tech fact to tech fiction, Ryan chats to Giuseppe Porcaro, author of a new book, Disco Sour, which presents a dystopian view of the future where politics is governed by a Tinder-style app. And our podcast panelists, Lina Aburous and Alva Finn, debate the big event in Brussels this week: Mark Zuckerber…
May 17, 2018
Episode 47: Combating anti-Semitism — Boosting the Balkans — Europe from afar
We dive right in with two interviews — the first with the EU’s coordinator for combatting anti-Semitism, Katharina von Schnurbein. Then we speak to Martina Larkin, who is heading up a World Economic Forum initiative to support the Balkans. And the podcast panel discusses Europe’s black population and how the Continent is seen from afar.
May 10, 2018
Episode 46, presented by Grow with Google: Curbing idealism - EESC chief Luca Jahier - Hot mic hell
Host Ryan Heath talks to author Vincent Stuer about his new book, Curb Your Idealism: The European Union as seen from within. Ryan also chats to Luca Jahier, the new president of the European Economic and Social Committee, who says it's time to rediscover passion for Europe. In the final part of the podcast, which contains some strong language (originally used by politicians), Ailbhe Finn and Carmen Paun join Ryan to discuss topics as diverse as the dangers of hot mics and menus that prompt serious self-examination.
May 3, 2018
Episode 45: Margrethe Vestager — EU budget battle — Whistleblower protection
Ryan Heath hits the road with Europe’s Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager — darling of Emmanuel Macron and foe of tax cheats and tech giants — to learn about how one Belgian city went from wasteland to strength in diversity. Sound like a campaign trip? Listen to find out how Vestager is handling the pressure to run to be European Commission president in 2019. She talks to EU Confidential about the 2019 election, her political heroes, how she thinks rule of law can be delivered across Europe, and why she never likes to be told what to do. POLITICO’s EU budget reporter Lili Bayer analyzes the newly proposed €1.28 trillion blueprint for 2021-2027. We discuss the winners and losers, and whether the European Commission’s plan to cut funds to countries like Hungary and Poland (if they fail to uphold rule of law to EU standards) has any chance at all of becoming a reality. We’ll also hear from our Brussels Brains Trust — this week it’s Alva Finn and Carmen Paun in…
Apr 26, 2018
Episode 44, presented by Grow with Google: EU's energy future – Spencer Dale – Macron & Trump
Spencer Dale, the former chief economist at the Bank of England who now holds the same position at energy giant BP, is our main guest this week. He looks into Europe’s energy future and discusses the dangers of groupthink in both his current and former jobs. To set the scene, POLITICO reporter Kalina Oroschakoff sketches out the controversies around the EU's energy policies. Ryan Heath hosts the podcast from Washington and links up with regular panelists, Lina Aburous and Alva Finn, to talk about Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the U.S. capital, the political theater over a speck of dandruff, Britain’s migration bungles, and a heartwarming story that links Europe and Australia. We also have — for a change — a positive Dear POLITICO dilemma.
Apr 19, 2018
Episode 43, presented by Grow with Google: Cécile Kyenge — Harassment investigation — Winking Macron
Cécile Kyenge, one of the few black members of the European Parliament, talks to Ryan Heath about the obstacles and abuse she’s faced in her career — and what she wants the EU institutions to do to foster more diversity in their ranks. We also talk to our regular podcast panelists, Lina Aburous and Ailbhe Finn, about Emmanuel Macron’s big moment at the European Parliament, the European Commission giving the green light for membership talks to two more countries and the EU’s role (or lack of it) in the Syrian crisis. And to kick off the podcast, POLITICO reporter Ginger Hervey gives us the inside story on her investigation into sexual harassment at one of the last places you would expect to find it — the EU’s gender equality agency. You can read that story here: https://www.politico.eu/article/sexual-harassment-eu-gender-equality-agency/
Apr 12, 2018
Episode 42: The Orbán effect — Mr. Data Protection — Harassment at EU gender equality agency
Kati Marton, a veteran reporter and author now with the Committee to Protect Journalists, talks to host Ryan Heath about how the reelection of Victor Orbán in Hungary will impact media freedom in Europe. Jan Philipp Albrecht, also known as Mr. Data Protection for his role in the GDPR legislation being enacted in May, chats to Ryan about his work in Parliament. Albrecht also tells us about the dream job he is set to begin soon. The Brussels brains trust, Ailbhe Finn and Lina Aburous, is shell-shocked by a story of sexual harassment in the most unexpected EU institution. They also tackle comments by the U.K.'s Brexit minister David Davis.
Apr 5, 2018
Episode 41: Bill Gates — Judging junkets — Greek MEPs' special stopover
Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder and philanthropist, is this week’s main guest. He talks to Ryan Heath about the work of his foundations, the next EU budget and the Oxfam scandal. And we talk to Politico health reporter Carmen Paun about how Gates has shaken up the world of public health — not without criticism. In our Dear Politico advice session, we hear from an assistant to a member of the European Parliament, who says their MEP is using their job to get trips to exotic locations at taxpayers’ expense. We also say EU WTF! about an Italian mayor’s plan to host a Nazi re-enactment and a Greek airline’s special stopover for MEPs — and give a big EU Thumbs Up to the Iberian lynx.
Mar 29, 2018
Episode 40, presented by Edelman and PAC: Brexit Countdown — Guy Verhofstadt — Brussels Press Revue
With a year to go until Brexit, we take stock of where things stand and what lies ahead. The European Parliament's Brexit Coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, talks to EU Confidential's executive producer, Andrew Gray, about the biggest Brexit challenges and how the Parliament is dealing with them. Verhofstadt talks about his plan to avoid a "Swiss nightmare" of too many post-Brexit agreements with the U.K. and warns the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland may still prove the toughest issue to solve. We also take a peek into Brussels' British expat community to get a sense of their feelings about Brexit, expressed on-stage through the skits, songs and gags of the Brussels Press Revue. The annual show, performed mainly by Brits, has been called the "EU nerd-prom." And the "Dear Politico" advice section helps a listener facing discrimination in the Brussels bubble.
Mar 22, 2018
Episode 39: Lithuania's Linas Linkevičius — Artificial Intelligence — Naughty MEPs
Russia, artificial intelligence and MEPs who are famous for the wrong reasons all feature in this week’s episode. Host Ryan Heath talks to the foreign minister of Lithuania, Linas Linkevičius, about how the EU should handle Moscow, following Vladimir Putin’s re-election and the Salisbury nerve agent attack. Ryan also chats with Janosch Delcker, POLITICO’s recently appointed AI correspondent. The first such correspondent at a major media outlet, Janosch talks about POLITICO’s AI Summit and how artificial intelligence and big data will change the world. Which Members of the European Parliament have made our naughty list? Ryan discusses some of his choices with regular panelists Lina Aburous and Ailbhe Finn, who choose their own favorites. They also talk over some EU WTF moments from the week. Thanks so much to the many listeners who took part in our recent survey. We’re always keen to hear your feedback — you can reach us at email@example.com.
Mar 15, 2018
Episode 38: President Margvelashvili of Georgia— Ryanair's Michael O'Leary
On this episode Ryan talks to Giorgi Margvelashvili, the president of Georgia who is a doctor of philosophy and was in town for the German Marshall Fund’s Brussels Forum. Following that Michael O’Leary, the gruff CEO and founder of Ryanair, who's discovering his softer side explains why Brexit makes him disappointed and how to solve holiday delays due to air traffic control strikes. Then we’ve got a fun panel with the Brussels brains trust, covering everything from Marine Le Pen’s missteps to our MEP of the Week.
Mar 8, 2018
Episode 37, presented by DowDupont: Marianne Thyssen — Lulwah Al Khater — Selmayr vs the world
Ryan Heath talks to Marianne Thyssen, the European Commissioner for employment, about how she wants to overhaul EU policies on jobs, education and training to face up to globalization. She also talks about the surprise in the College of Commissioners when Martin Selmayr was nominated as the Commission’s new secretary-general. Lulwah Al Khater, the first female spokesperson for the Qatari ministry of foreign affairs, drops by to tell us about her job and the challenges facing her country. Highlights from the show: Women in the workplace: As we mark International Women’s Day, Thyssen discusses barriers to success for women in the workplace. “If we look into the labor market and in the progress of women, we see that everything is going fine until the moment of children and then … women are penalized in the labor market … [they] don’t have the possibility to reach their full potential in their career,” Thyssen says. Thyssen on Martin Selmayr: The commissioner describes ho…
Mar 1, 2018
Ep. 36 : Tony Blair interview — Food bank furor — MEP of the week
Tony Blair came to Brussels this week with a clear message, delivered in this week's interview: I’m trying to stop Brexit, and there’s only one shot left — European immigration controls. If that idea or a second British Brexit referendum fails, Europe will be left with an angrier bigger version of Singapore undercutting its business and social model on its doorstep. Highlights from the show: Hard Brexit will mean big, angry European version of Singapore: If Brexit continues on its current course, Blair predicts there will be "a long and difficult period of economic restructuring" in Britain. As part of that process, the U.K. will become "a competitor to Europe, not an ally" and will "attract investment basically by pointing the finger at Europe and saying 'we're not like them,'" he said. "That's the future and that has massive implications for your welfare system, your pension system, your health care system.” Immigration fears: Blair admits he could have done more within EU…
Feb 22, 2018
Episode 35, presented by Raytheon: Ben Hodges — Munich Security Conference — Brexit blockbusters
This week's episode features a review of the Munich Security Conference and an interview with Ben Hodges, who recently retired as commanding general of the U.S. Army in Europe. Also on the podcast: our panelists give their verdict on the big new job for Martin Selmayr, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's powerful chief of staff, look forward to the Italian election and once again test their knowledge of members of the European Parliament. The Munich Security Conference, the premier gathering of security and defense experts and policymakers, has been called "a poor man's Davos, but one where work actually gets done." POLITICO's Matthew Karnitschnig gives host Ryan Heath the lowdown on this year's event and introduces his interview from the conference with Hodges, who discusses transatlantic ties, Russia, the Balkans and how Europe can deter potential threats. Highlights from the show: Hodges on Russia: "In all the governments of Europe, people recognize that the envi…
Feb 15, 2018
Episode 34: Alexander Stubb — Spitzenkandidat — MEP of the Week
This week's special guest is Alexander Stubb, the former Finnish prime minister and ex-MEP who is now vice president of the European Investment Bank (EIB). Stubb talks about how the bank will handle Brexit and how it will play an increasing role as the EU tries to do "more with less" in its next long-term budget. The podcast panel discusses the Oxfam sex scandal, the controversial Spitzenkandidat system for picking the Commission president and the intriguing backstory of a notable MEP. Highlights from the show: Stubb on the EU budget after Brexit: "The basic idea is that you have to be realistic. That the EU budget is not going to grow, especially after Brexit, so then you're going to have to come up with different types of ideas of leveraging or getting more bang for the buck or for doing more with less." Stubb on the impact of Brexit on the EIB: "We will have less money to invest as the U.K. leaves the EU... but then again we'll also have less population and we'll have less membe…
Feb 8, 2018
Episode 33: Nick Clegg — Western Balkans tough love — Lambert van Nistelrooij
EU politics this week was all about shrinkage and enlargement. The shrinkage of course is Brexit, with the U.K. government again failing to set out its negotiating position and Michel Barnier sweeping through London to explain the EU's red lines. EU Confidential's featured guest this week is former U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. The enlargement — or potential enlargement — comes from the Western Balkans. The European Commission Tuesday issued a strategy that opens the way for top-performing countries in the region to join the EU in 2025. There's a catch: the Commission all but said none of the Western Balkans countries will be ready by then, because of endemic corruption, organized crime and fragile democratic institutions. Highlights from the show: Nick Clegg says U.K. government is "a bunch of muppets": "I think it is impossible to exaggerate the level of a cluelessness and incompetence now at the heart of British government." He said the current government has torn u…
Feb 1, 2018
Episode 32: Czech politics — Slovenian PM Cerar — German car industry experiments
It's a bumper episode this week. We hear from POLITICO's man in Prague, Siegfried Mortkowitz, about the good cop-bad cop Euroskeptic routine coming out of the Czech capital, and we catch up with a prime minister, a bank chief and an MEP that Ryan Heath spoke to at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar tells us why he wants his country to be a home for progressive innovation. European Bank for Reconstruction and Development chief Suma Chakrabarti pitched the EBRD as "the most extreme pro-private sector business model there is" among public banks, and one that is able to cut through the EU's political baggage because it is independent from the Union. Marietje Schaake, MEP and a WEF Young Global Leader, wowed those who wanted to learn if "Europe is back," via a series of dinners, panels and reports. Schaake advocated "showing by doing" as a way to transfer that diversity to the broader Davos delegates list, which is 80 percent men. The best part of the W…
Jan 25, 2018
Episode 31: Direct from Davos — Dutch PM Mark Rutte — Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki
We've got the lowdown from Davos in another special edition from the World Economic Forum. The podcast features interviews with two prime ministers — the Netherlands' Mark Rutte and Poland's Mateusz Morawiecki — as well as U.S. investor Bill McGlashan, a champion of social impact investing. Ryan Heath is your host for a show that's both the final edition of our daily Davos Confidential podcasts and the latest weekly episode in our EU Confidential series. Rutte's red lines: The Dutch PM makes clear he's not up for turning the eurozone into a "transfer union." He says he's all for more European integration if it means completing the single market but "we have to be very careful about what we want to achieve. I'm against risk sharing... And if that is what some people mean, I will very much plead against it." Brexit blues: Hear why the Netherlands "hates" the fact Britain is leaving the EU and what Rutte wants from London now. POLITICO’s Matthew Kaminski speaks to new Polish Pr…
Jan 24, 2018
Davos Confidential 4: Theresa Time — Werner Hoyer — Trump’s warm-up act
Ryan Heath and Matthew Kaminski look ahead to Theresa May’s appearance in Davos, hot on the heels of speeches by Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron. Also in the daily podcast, they discuss U.S. officials’ reception at the World Economic Forum, ahead of Donald Trump’s arrival. Ryan interviews Werner Hoyer, president of the European Investment Bank and talks to John Harris, POLITICO’s global editor-in-chief, who previews Trump’s speech to the forum on Friday. To get more from the POLITICO team at the WEF, sign up for the daily Davos Playbook at register.politico.eu/davosplaybook.
Jan 23, 2018
Davos Confidential 3: Europe’s back — Post-rage politics — Modi’s missed chance
Direct from Davos in our daily podcast, POLITICO’s Ryan Heath, Florian Eder and Matthew Kaminski look forward to an unofficial Europe day at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday, when Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Paolo Gentiloni will all be in action. In keeping with the Europe theme, Ryan and Florian chat to Belgian Deputy Prime Prime Minister Alexander De Croo about the EU’s future, post-rage politics and Brexit. Ryan speaks to Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, who explains why he always heads to Davos and also offers a brief history of his country — from farming to space mining. Ryan, Florian and Matthew look back at Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appearance at the WEF and explain why he missed his moment. To get more from the POLITICO team at the WEF, sign up for the daily Davos Playbook at register.politico.eu/davosplaybook.
Jan 22, 2018
Davos Confidential 2: Talking trade — Digital rights — Desperately seeking Donald
Ryan Heath and Florian Eder bring you the latest from the World Economic Forum in Davos in POLITICO’s special daily pop-up podcast. Ryan talks to Arancha González, executive director of the International Trade Centre, who says the world needs to up its game when it comes to trade talks. He also catches up with Brett Solomon, a digital rights advocate who explains why he’s come to Davos this year. Ryan and Florian also discuss who’s battling for an audience with Donald Trump and share some behind-the-scenes gossip.
Jan 21, 2018
Davos Confidential 1: Setting the scene - Advantage Angela - Panda scale for speeches
Davos Confidential: In the first of POLITICO’s daily pop-up podcasts from the World Economic Forum, Ryan Heath and Florian Eder preview this year’s gathering of the global elite. From the Crystal Awards to the Panda scale for speeches, Ryan and Florian have the inside track from the snow-covered slopes of the Swiss resort. They also unpack the decision by Germany’s Social Democrats to back coalition talks with Angela Merkel, who will be in Davos on Wednesday. As well as the daily podcast, Ryan and Florian will bring you a daily Davos Playbook email. Sign up for free at http://register.politico.eu/davosplaybook/.
Jan 18, 2018
Episode 30: Estonian president Kersti Kaljulaid — Davos preview — MEP of the Week
This week's show features an interview with Estonia's President Kersti Kaljulaid, the first head of state to appear on the podcast. Kaljulaid explains why Estonia wants to pay more to the EU, reveals a promise Jean-Claude Juncker made to her about the post-Brexit EU budget and talks about how Estonia is struggling with Russia's turn to militarism. POLITICO Managing Editor Florian Eder joins us to preview the World Economic Forum in Davos January 22-26. Sign up to POLITICO's daily Davos Playbook coming out next week. And listen out for our daily pop-up Davos Confidential podcasts, which will be on the same feed as EU Confidential. With our podcast panel, we launch a new feature: MEP of the Week. We draw MEP names out of a box and see whether the panel knows who they are or what they've achieved. Some more highlights from our interview with Kaljulaid... Estonia ready to pay more to EU budget: "I'm hoping for a lot of change because we have lots of common, supranational goals wh…
Jan 11, 2018
Episode 29: Spotify CEO Daniel Ek - Poland vs Brussels - Harassment survey
Host Ryan Heath interviews Daniel Ek, the CEO of global music pioneer Spotify. The music world was a notorious graveyard for online entrepreneurs: until Spotify. In this episode, Ek explains why he thinks Stockholm-based Spotify is different to Silicon Valley companies, what he wants from EU regulators, and becomes the first major tech CEO to give his full support to the #metoo movement. Ek also spills the beans on his favorite politician, his first 2018 resolution, and how firing 20 staff as a 17-year-old shaped his approach to building companies. Upbeat on Europe: Ek says "Europe has made tremendous progress just over the last 10 years" in closing its funding gap with Silicon Valley. He nominated fintech as the tech niche where Europe is achieving global leadership. EU regulators on right track but too slow: The development of an EU digital single market would be "very useful" because it would give "easy ways for people to be able to scale up" their companies before having to dea…
Jan 4, 2018
Episode 28: Estonia's EU presidency — Bulgaria's big moment — Iran protests
Kaja Tael, Estonia's ambassador to the EU, reviews her country's six months running the bloc's rotating presidency. Host Ryan Heath also talks to POLITICO's Christian Oliver about the challenges for Bulgaria's 2018 EU presidency, from domestic infighting to far-right ministers. Estonia is northern, not eastern, European: Tael says Estonia is a bridge between different camps in the EU, but sees itself primarily as closer to a northern or Baltic bloc rather than a central or eastern European one. Revolution: Looking back on the past six months, Tael says progress in EU defense cooperation has been "nothing but revolutionary." She also outlines the tasks Bulgaria will face during its six months in the hot seat. Budget drama: While Tael says there is "no need to despair" about the state of the EU, debates over the next EU budget will certainly "stir up the most drama" in coming months. Bulgarian dilemma: Bulgarians will face conflicting emotions during the presidency, Christian Oliv…
Dec 21, 2017
Episode 27, presented by Raytheon : 2017 review & NATO’s Jamie Shea
Episode 27 of POLITICO's EU Confidential podcast features a review of the year from POLITICO reporters and an interview with NATO's Deputy Assistant Secretary General Jamie Shea, a Brussels veteran of almost 40 years. With regular host Ryan Heath on holiday, news editor Andrew Gray talks to Shea about the alliance's future challenges, the EU's new defense pact and his role as frontman when NATO went to war for the first time, over Kosovo in 1999. Looking back: POLITICO policy reporters pick out the biggest stories on their beats this year and tell us why they matter. A couple of big names crop up — and one isn't even European. From tech to trade, and from fisheries to the environment, our journalists have everything you need to impress friends and family with your policy knowledge over the holidays. Looking forward: Jamie Shea is NATO's deputy assistant secretary general for emerging security challenges. In an interview in his office at the alliance's headquarters, he talks about…
Dec 14, 2017
Episode 26: Rebooting Brussels — #BrusselsSoWhite — David Davis’s double talk
Episode 26 of POLITICO's EU Confidential podcast has just been released, featuring a deep dive into the EU's capital city. We discuss how to improve Brussels as a city with regional minister Pascal Smet and debate the thorny topic of racial diversity in the EU bubble. Brussels the "whore": There's no doubt Smet has a way with words. He compares Brussels, a city and region he hopes to transform, "with a whore, with a prostitute." He says the city is "attractive and at the same time unattractive. It's nice in its ugliness and ugly in its niceness.” Battle for Brussels: Smet casts governance reform in the city as a generational fight. The current leadership class are “dinosaurs” and act like a “junta.” He wants to transform Brussels into a place where things get done quickly. "We could do so much better [but] everything is fragmented.” Hear his plan to overhaul how the city is run. Smet’s city role models: Hamburg, Berlin and Vienna. Big picture = no cars: Smet want to ge…
Dec 7, 2017
Episode 25: Herman Van Rompuy & Theresa May's Manic Monday
Former European Council President Herman Van Rompuy talks to host Ryan Heath about the future of the EU in this week's episode. EU reform and Brexit haiku: Since leaving office, Van Rompuy has been shepherding a major report on the future of the EU, the New Pact for Europe, in the name of several leading foundations and think tanks. In a challenge almost as daunting, he has composed a haiku about Brexit especially for EU Confidential listeners. Hear the haiku — in English and in Dutch — in this week's podcast. A hopeful multi-speed Europe: Van Rompuy's political goal with the report is to create the practical steps that can "turn fear into hope" across Europe. It's a modest, Belgian approach to healing some serious wounds in the EU body politic. He says multi-speed Europe can work in certain circumstances and that “the countries who want to make progress on some issues have all the instruments they need” already. We also talk to the lead author of the report, Janis A. Em…
Nov 30, 2017
Episode 24: Glyphodrama — Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis — food safety chief Bernard Uhl
This week's show features back-to-back interviews with the European commissioner for health, Vytenis Andriukaitis, who is also a heart surgeon, and Bernhard Uhl, the head of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Glyphosate politics: Speaking just after the EU reapproved the use of glyphosate, Uhl, whose EFSA agency concluded there is no health risk associated with agricultural use of the weedkiller, said it's nevertheless legitimate to discuss what kind of value system should support our agriculture. He wants critics of his agency though to admit that those values debates are “not about science,” while conceding that the intersection of science and values is “always a difficult interface.” “Safest food in the world”: This month the EU celebrated 15 years of its landmark food safety law. Uhl insisted the law sets Europe apart and above other countries and regions which it comes to food “transparency,” “traceability” and “crisis preparedness.” The law was b…
Nov 23, 2017
Episode 23: Olympic committee chief — EMA, EBA to Amsterdam, Paris — Failed German coalition talks
Episode 23 of POLITICO's EU Confidential podcast features Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee. This week, we've got two feature interviews for you. As well as Bach, there's Adecco Group board member Stephan Howeg. We also talked to POLITICO's Florian Eder about the recent political developments in Germany. German twists and turns: Florian Eder gives us a recap of what happened last week when the liberal FDP party quit the German coalition talks after weeks of exploratory talks. Together with our news editor Andrew Gray, Florian talks us through the options that are left for Chancellor Angela Merkel. Career coach: Stephan Howeg went from mechanic to board member of the Adecco Group, a Fortune 500 company. He now is an ambassador for the EU Skills Week and explains how Adecco is a career coach for millions of people. Olympics and the EU: Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is up next. He was in Brussels recently an…
Nov 16, 2017
Episode 22, presented by Ørsted: Statoil CEO Eldar Sætre — White supremacy in Europe
Episode 22 of POLITICO's EU Confidential podcast features Eldar Sætre, the CEO of Norway's oil and gas company Statoil. We spoke to Sætre on November 9, after the COP23 global climate conference had kicked off in Bonn, Germany, but before Norway's $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund proposed dropping investments in oil and gas stocks. We also chatted with POLITICO's Sara Stefanini, who has spent the week in Bonn reporting on the climate conference. Paging Rex Tillerson: Sætre says the future of his business is green, but that it won't give up oil and gas anytime soon. Would he call U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — a former oil and gas CEO himself — to push a green message? “You know I could call Rex, but I think the U.S. politics is more complex than that. So I don't know ... I'm very open about this when I go to Washington.” Beating the dependency on subsidies: Scaling up the use of renewable energies such as wind and solar power has tended to require big upfront pu…
Nov 9, 2017
Episode 21: Greek opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis — Oettinger's car clash — UK Cabinet chaos
Host Ryan Heath interviews Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the head of Greece's New Democracy party and opposition leader in parliament. The outsider and the Mitsotakis dynasty: The opposition leader is the son of a former Greek prime minister, Konstantinos Mitsotakis, yet ran for the party leadership with virtually no support from fellow MPs. Instead, he won in an open primary thanks to support from ordinary Greek center-right voters rather than party elites. “My career is not the typical career of a professional politician," he said. "I was educated in the U.S. and I spent 10 years working in the private sector before I entered politics. At the same time, I'm also considered a reformer within my own party. So I am changing my own party and this sometimes, I'll be very honest with you, is causing friction.” Mitsotakis claims Tsipras has been costly: The New Democracy leader says the price of electing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in 2015 can be counted by Greeks in cash. “If you just…
Nov 2, 2017
Episode 20: Historian Rolf Falter — Catalonia comes to Brussels — Harassment scandal
Ryan Heath interviews Rolf Falter, a historian who has worked across the Belgian and EU political landscapes: from adviser, to journalist, to get-out-the-vote advocate, to author of a new book on Europe. The dangers of absolute identity: Falter argues that one of the good things about fragmented Belgian identities is that they show how difficult and dangerous it can be to identify 100 percent with one region, one party, one identity. "None of us is a hundred percent British, or 100 percent German," he says. The result of that mindset in Belgium is the nation is adept at "subtle democracy" and the art of compromising in order to keep the country running, he said. Using Brussels to solve national political problems: Falter laments that compared to the era in which the European Union emerged from the ashes and rubble of World War II, politicians no longer use Brussels to solve domestic problems, but instead pin blame for those problems on Brussels. In the past “you could solve nati…
Oct 26, 2017
Episode 19: Harassment discussion — Hope for change — Maroš Šefčovič interview
Episode 19 of EU Confidential features a special discussion on the issue of sexual harassment and assault in the EU Brussels bubble. The podcast also includes an interview with European Commission Vice President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič, in which we discuss everything from batteries to Brexit. Harassment allegations: Joanna Maycock from the European Women's Lobby explains why she thinks the wave of recent allegations can lead to positive change. Host Ryan Heath and panelist Ailbhe Finn talk about the times they experienced sexual harassment and assault. Together with Lina Aburous, they discuss an alleged rape case involving two European Parliament staff, resulting in the alleged perpetrator leaving their job. Point of no return: “It's not just in Brussels, right? It's everywhere.” Maycock said, after decades of trying to “shine a light” on the problem that she calls a “massive structural issue.” She hopes “the outpouring of testimony means that it's a wake-u…
Oct 19, 2017
Episode 18: EU Commissioner Vĕra Jourová — Remembering Daphne Caruana Galizia — Catalonia dilemma
Episode 18 of POLITICO's EU Confidential podcast features an interview with European Commissioner Vĕra Jourová, who leads the EU's work on data protection among her many responsibilities as commissioner for justice, consumer rights and gender equality. We also remember Daphne Caruana Galizia: Controversial and crusading, Malta's most famous journalist Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb Monday afternoon. EU Confidential speaks with Paul Dallison and Harry Cooper, two POLITICO journalist who knew her, about her approach and Malta's often toxic political environment. Caruana Galizia was selected for the 2017 POLITICO28, a list of people shaping Europe. From jail to justice commissioner: Barely 10 years ago, Vĕra Jourová was falsely accused of EU-related fraud and subject to pre-trial detention in the Czech Republic. The experience inspired her to retrain as a lawyer to learn about the system that wrongly imprisoned her: today she is the justice commissioner of the European Uni…
Oct 12, 2017
Episode 17, presented by AB InBev: Athens Mayor — EU Committee of Regions President
Episode 17 of POLITICO's EU Confidential podcast features back-to-back interviews with Karl-Heinz Lambertz, president of the European Committee of the Regions, and George Kaminis, the center-left mayor Athens. Theresa May — Not dead yet: We start by getting out of the Brexit weeds in a conversation with Paul Taylor, POLITICO's Europe-at-large columnist. Taylor takes us through the debate in London following Theresa May's refusal to say whether she would vote for Brexit today, and argues that the British prime minister is weakened, but not going anywhere. Next up, says Taylor: a Cabinet reshuffle, followed by strategically timed concessions to the EU. Grassroots Europe: Karl-Heinz Lambertz, head of the EU's Committee of the Regions — one of its newer and lesser-known institutions — talks to us about what he thinks needs to happen with the €350 billion the EU spends on regional subsidies in its current long-term budget. Lambertz, who this week hosted Donald Tusk's keynote speec…
Oct 5, 2017
Episode 16: Telia's Johan Dennelind — Global Policy Lab — Catalan independence referendum
Host Ryan Heath talks to POLITICO's chief Europe correspondent Matthew Karnitschnig about a homegrown journalism experiment: POLITICO's first Global Policy Lab. We convened labor and economics experts, executives and union representatives, along with regular POLITICO readers, to develop stories about how Europe can engineer growth, and in particular to develop real policy prescriptions for how Germany's old world manufacturing base could survive the country's demographic crisis. Robots to the rescue: Germany is using robots to beat back its demographic crisis of an aging population and to keep its manufacturing competitive. For all the value delivered by robots Matthew Karnitschnig told us that "You can't just rely on robots. There really is going to be no way around dealing with the problem without more immigration." To maintain Germany's current workforce average net migration levels would need to 400,000 per year. Telecoms connects all, so must support all: Telia CEO Johan Denneli…
Sep 28, 2017
Episode 15: Catalan independence debate — German election — Court confusion
In a special episode this week, we feature interviews from both sides of the Catalan independence debate ahead of the Catalan regional government's referendum, planned for Sunday. Ryan Heath interviews Jorge Toledo Albiñana, Spain's secretary of state for European affairs, who makes the case for Spanish unity, as well as Amadeu Altafaj, the Catalan government's representative to the EU, who accuses Madrid of using repressive tactics that breach EU law. Ryan also speaks to POLITICO Europe's managing editor, Stephen Brown, about the challenges of covering a passionate debate where there appears to be little scope for a negotiated compromise. Independence 'is not going to happen,' says Toledo. In response, Altafaj said: "That short quote is very telling. It says a lot about the problem. Basically, this is a political challenge and it should be addressed through politics and it's being addressed by all means: the judiciary, the police forces, and undercover operations, etcetera, bu…
Sep 21, 2017
Episode 14: NationBuilder's Toni Cowan-Brown — German election — Boris Johnson's fact and fantasy
Host Ryan Heath interviews Toni Cowan-Brown, a vice president at NationBuilder, the software company that has powered election campaigns for Emmanuel Macron's party, Theresa May, Bernie Sanders and even Belgian communists. Also this week: POLITICO's Florian Eder looks ahead to the German election. Smashing political barriers: Cowan-Brown explains how political software is dramatically lowering the money and time it takes to launch movements and campaigns. Analog Germany: But the company is not working on the German election: because political parties wanted all the data stored in Germany. We discuss whether that attitude is likely to change. About that election: POLITICO managing editor Florian Eder previews Sunday's parliamentary vote — and discusses who Brussels would like to see in the next government. Boris Johnson's Brexit vision — fact or fantasy? Our Brussels brains trust debates what Britain's foreign secretary is up to with his recent Brexit opus and fact-checks s…
Sep 14, 2017
Episode 13: Tomáš Valášek — Juncker's State of the Union — Catalonia
Ryan Heath interviews Tomáš Valášek, the former Slovakian ambassador to NATO who heads the Carnegie Europe think tank. As Russia begins its Zapad war game, the West should be worried about Moscow “downright lying about the size and the type” of military exercises it holds, Valášek says. But he also says that fears Moscow will use the exercise as a springboard to attack or invade a neighbor are overblown. Valášek said the EU has finally upped its defense cooperation game in a meaningful way, and that Jean-Claude Juncker's olive branches to eastern Europe in his State of the European Union speech are an essential gesture if the EU27 is to stay united through Brexit negotiations and planning for the next long-term EU budget. Also this week, Christian Oliver, POLITICO's European trade editor, guides us through Juncker's address. We discuss the speech's many priorities, traps, and fanciful power grabs. In our panel discussion, regular guests Ailbhe Finn and Lina Aburous di…
Sep 7, 2017
Episode 12: David McAllister MEP - London Playbook's Jack Blanchard - Azerbaijan Scandal
Host Ryan heath talks to David McAllister, head of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee and a key ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. McAllister says the U.K.'s decision to leave the EU is a "historic mistake" and Turkey's authoritarian drift is “appalling." He also says the EU cannot slam the door on the membership aspirations of Western Balkan countries. McAllister says that while “there aren't many people who really believe that Martin Schulz could become German chancellor,” it would be a terrible mistake for the ruling CDU party to be complacent about their opinion poll lead. On Brexit, McAllister warns “the clock is ticking” for negotiators and said the U.K. needs to do more to bring the divorce talks forward. Also on the podcast this week, Jack Blanchard, the editor of the new POLITICO London Playbook, explains where Brexit is likely to bite most. In our "EU WTF" feature, Ailbhe Finn and Harry Cooper discuss an extraordinary set of money laund…
Aug 31, 2017
Episode 11: EU rights expert Michael O'Flaherty — Poland's peril — Macron's make-up
Regular host Ryan Heath is back with an interview with Michael O’Flaherty, the head of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency. The interview, recorded at the European Alpbach Forum in Austria, looks at why human rights defenders have failed to make more headway in the face of populist challenges. O'Flaherty also talks about the European Commission's fights with Poland and Hungary and why he regrets Brexit from a human-rights perspective. Also on the podcast this week, POLITICO's energy and climate editor Jan Cienski, one of our resident Poland experts, walks us through the key players in the European Commission's dispute with Warsaw over the government's role in the courts and its hardline positions on independent journalism and refugees. In our "EU WTF" feature, Ailbhe Finn and Lina Aburous discuss Emmanuel Macron's massive make-up bill, his tour of eastern Europe, and the incredible lack of chemistry between chief Brexit negotiators Michel Barnier and David Davis. And in the Dear POLI…
Aug 24, 2017
Episode 10: Brexit & Ireland — John Bruton — Trump's tax break
While regular host Ryan Heath recovers from his holiday jet lag, news editor Andrew Gray presents an interview with former Irish PM John Bruton on Brexit, a roundup of the latest on Britain's departure from the EU, and discussion of stories from across the Continent. We start with POLITICO's Brexit editor James Randerson, who brings us up to date on the flurry of Brexit position papers released by the U.K. government as well as the EU's official reaction — and what it really thinks. Bruton, the former Irish prime minister who later served as the EU's ambassador to Washington, tells us what Brexit will mean for Ireland, why Britain may decide its vision of life outside the EU isn't achievable and how the rest of the European Union will fare when the negotiating gets tough. In our "EU WTF" feature, Playbook's Harry Cooper and POLITICO tech reporter Joanna Plucinska discuss Donald Trump's Scottish tax break, Cambridge University Press's Chinese challenge and a big rise in popularity…
Aug 17, 2017
Episode 9: NATO's Petr Pavel — German election campaign — Britain's Brexit papers
Regular host Ryan Heath is on holiday but the podcast rolls on with news editor Andrew Gray standing in once more. This week, we've dug into the archives again to bring you the highlights of a conversation between Ryan and General Petr Pavel, the head of NATO's military committee, at a Playbook event in June. Pavel talks about Turkey, Russia and defense spending among NATO allies. Germany's Social Democrats want to make military spending a key issue in their campaign to stop Chancellor Angela Merkel winning another term. With some five weeks to go until the parliamentary election, POLITICO Berlin correspondent Janosch Delcker brings us up to date on the battle for votes. Janosch explains why taking a holiday has worked out well for Merkel while challenger Martin Schulz runs from one campaign event to the next. In our "EU WTF" feature, Brussels brains trust regular Ailbhe Finn is joined by POLITICO's Harry Cooper to discuss the new job of Germany's former Chancellor Gerhard Schr…
Aug 10, 2017
Episode 8: Emmanuel Macron interview — Commissioners' expenses — Brussels networking tips
Europe might be slowing down for the summer but we're still going strong. Regular host Ryan Heath is on holiday so news editor Andrew Gray stands in this week. We've raided the archive to bring you something a bit different — Emmanuel Macron, before he was famous. Well, before he was French president, or even a presidential candidate. Last year, soon after founding the movement that would help propel him to power, Macron sat down for a chat with Ryan and senior Paris correspondent Pierre Briançon at a POLITICO Playbook cocktail event in Brussels. We've put together the highlights from that conversation. It's a rare chance to hear Europe's man of the moment talk — at length and in English — about French politics, Europe, trade policy... and which character he'd like to play on stage or screen. Pierre Briançon joins us from Paris to bring us up to date on how Macron is doing as president so far — and how he's changed since that conversation in Brussels. In our "EU WTF" fea…
Aug 3, 2017
Episode 7: Anders Fogh Rasmussen — Russia, Ukraine and the US — Greece's scapegoat statistician
This week, host Ryan Heath sits down with Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former NATO secretary-general and now adviser to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Rasmussen talks defense spending, Trump and how to handle Russia. And he reveals why we should spend our summer holiday in Denmark. David Herszenhorn, POLITICO's chief Brussels correspondent, brings us up to date with events in Ukraine and Russia. In our "EU WTF" section, our Brussels brains trust, Lina Aburous and Ailbhe Finn, discuss the case of Andreas Georgiou, the Greek statistician who has been convicted for telling the truth about the state of the Greek economy. And in our Dear Politico section, we hear from an NGO worker who says their organization is misusing EU funds and wants to know what to do.
Jul 27, 2017
Episode 6: Violeta Bulc — Ryanair to Brexit rescue? — Endless car scandals
This week Violeta Bulc, the European transport commissioner and a taekwondo black belt, explains why she’d have Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary as a Brexit negotiator to make sure planes can still fly from the U.K. to the EU and vice versa the day after Brexit. Bulc is also passionate about drones and tells us why there should be millions of them, why they need to be regulated and how she plans to do it. You'll also hear what it takes to establish a cross-border fast train link, and so why many obvious connections — like one between Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest — are still missing from Europe's map. Bulc even entertains the idea of giving farmers EU Common Agricultural Policy money to buy drones to help with their work. Joshua Posaner, a POLITICO transport reporter, talks us through a big week for the automotive sector. Allegations of a massive cartel in the German auto sector prompted soul-searching at the European Commission. Their response was to create a new role, which ma…
Jul 20, 2017
Episode 5: Taavet Hinrikus — Digital Regulation — David Davis: genius or fool?
This week Mark Scott, POLITICO Europe's new chief technology correspondent, talks to us about the trends he sees as tech companies deal with the reality that their libertarian early days are coming to an end and regulators confront them in the name of protecting citizens' and national interests. Taavet Hinrikus, the Estonian member of the 2016 POLITICO 28 list who helped build Skype and went on to found and run TransferWise, is our main interview guest. Hinrikus explains how he sees the future of banking, gives advice on how to found your own start-up, tells us about living life out of a backpack, and why he might be thrown out of the U.K. because of Brexit. Our Brussels brains trust, Lina Aburous and Ailbhe Finn, give their radically different takes on David Davis' performance at this week's Brexit negotiations in Brussels. Is he a genius or a fool? You decide. And in our Dear Politico section we hear from a listener with an extraordinary allegation: he says he's an assistant to a…
Jul 13, 2017
Episode 4: Marietje Schaake — Politics of EU-Japan deal — Parliament's PhD babysitter
This week Christian Oliver, POLITICO Europe's trade editor, talks us through the astonishing speed with which the EU completed its trade deal with Japan, and why future trade deals will not be so easy. Marietje Schaake, a Dutch liberal member of the European Parliament and member of the 2017 POLITICO 28 list, tells us why she thinks a data flows chapter could still be added into the Japan trade deal, why she thinks protestors at the G20 summit have no excuse for their violence, and why she is so worried about the Trump administration. Schaake also has a message for Theresa May. Schaake thinks May is living in a fantasy land when it comes to post-Brexit trade deals: “Where's the sense of realism and what kind of narrative are you projecting out there and how are you ever going to meet it?” she told EU Confidential. Our Brussels brains trust, Lina Aburous and Ailbhe Finn, chew over whether it's OK for Ryanair and the European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc to support spec…
Jul 6, 2017
Episode 3: Victoria Espinel — What Brexit's broken — European Parliament harassment
Host Ryan Heath, author of POLITICO's Brussels Playbook, talks to journalist Frances Robinson about the things Brexit has already wrecked — before it’s even happened. Frances reveals how it's ruined the British dating scene, and why many of Jeremy Corbyn's fans might be in for a shock when they realize what he really thinks about Brexit. Victoria Espinel, CEO of BSA, the world's biggest alliance of software companies, discusses the politics — and awesome power — of data. Our Brussels brains trust, Lina Aburous and Ailbhe Finn, talk roadworks rage and Simone Veil. And in our Dear Politico advice section, we hear from a listener who says she has experienced sexual harassment from members of the European Parliament and their aides.
Jun 29, 2017
Episode 2: Ángel Gurría — EU's Googlewhack — Interns in bikinis backlash
Host Ryan Heath speaks to Ángel Gurría, secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), who explains why it will take more than austerity to get the world economy growing faster — and why his organization has to get more political to be useful in an era of populist complaints. POLITICO competition and tech reporter Nicholas Hirst breaks down the debate around the European Commission's decision to fine Google €2.42 billion and demand the search giant change its business practices. EU Confidential's Brussels brains trust of Lina Aburous and Ailbhe Finn discuss the choice of CEZ, a Czech power company, to ask female intern applicants to enter a bikini contest. And in our Dear POLITICO section, we talk about the case of a staffer at the European Parliament who says they are mistaken for a server at official receptions because they are not caucasian.
Jun 22, 2017
Episode 1: Cecilia Malmström — Brexit talks
After two pilot shows, host Ryan Heath brings you the first official episode of POLITICO’s new podcast all about the EU and European politics. Ryan talks to European trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström about Trump, Brexit, China and more. Following the start of Brexit negotiations this week, we cut through the spin with POLITICO’s Brexit news editor James Randerson. And Ryan is joined by Ailbhe Finn and Lina Aburous from his Brussels brains trust to talk about an EU court ruling on soya milk, the nomination of two openly gay European prime ministers and the perils of politicians accepting discounted property deals.
Jun 18, 2017
Bonus Episode: Erna Solberg
Host Ryan Heath gets some tips for Brits from Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg about what it's like to be closely linked to the EU but not part of the club. POLITICO Europe news editor Andrew Gray and Brussels reporter Harry Cooper discuss the U.K. general election and its impact on the Brexit talks. And Ryan calls in two members of his Brussels brains trust, Ailbhe Finn and Lina Aburous to talk about proposals to construct a new European Parliament building and the plight of unpaid interns.
Jun 13, 2017
Pilot episode: Pierre Moscovici
In this pilot episode of POLITICO's new podcast, EU Confidential, host Ryan Heath talks to European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici about the future of the euro — and about what he would do if he wasn't a politician. Ryan discusses issues behind the interview with POLITICO finance reporter Bjarke Smith-Meyer and gets the views of his Brussels brains trust on EU stories big and small.
Jun 5, 2017
EU Confidential Trailer
A sneak preview of the new podcast from Politico Europe. Coming soon.