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EU Confidential

Author: POLITICO Europe

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EU Confidential is a weekly European news and politics podcast published every Thursday by POLITICO Europe. Each 30-minute episode features POLITICO’s analysis of the top stories driving EU politics, as well as notable guests shaping European policy and deep-dive stories from around the Continent. It’s hosted by Suzanne Lynch, POLITICO’s chief Brussels correspondent, who is joined by reporters from around Europe. Discover our show notes for EU Confidential here:

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370 Episodes
EU Confidential is in New York for the U.N. General Assembly, where leaders from around the globe are gathering to hash out some of the most pressing issues. Those range from the climate catastrophe to reform of the UN itself and Russia's war in Ukraine — it's the most action-packed week on the international diplomatic agenda. To make sense of the big stories driving the talks at this year’s UNGA, host Suzanne Lynch is joined by Anne McElvoy – POLITICO’s executive editor and head of audio, who also hosts POLITICO’s brand new "Power Play" podcast. Don’t miss this week's inaugural episode featuring a wide-ranging interview on foreign policy with Keir Starmer, leader of the U.K. Labour Party and possibly the next British prime minister.   Later in the show, Suzanne talks to Werner Hoyer, who is ending his 12-year term as head of the European Investment Bank. They focus on the EIB's support for green technologies in Europe and beyond, and discuss the future of an institution whose leadership position is up for grabs. Will the outgoing president reveal who he's rooting for?Finally, we bring you a conversation with European Commission Executive Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, currently serving as the EU's climate chief. He explains how the European Green Deal and its ambitious targets are faring here in New York. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
In this bumper episode, we bring you the main takeaways from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's annual State of the European Union address, as well as reactions from members of the European Parliament. The Commission president needed over an hour to highlight her key achievements and lay out plans for the coming months. Host Suzanne Lynch talks to POLITICO’s Chief Policy Correspondent Sarah Wheaton and together they break down the main points highlighted in the speech: the European Green Deal, the EU’s industrial plans, migration, enlargement and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. They also look for hidden messages and potential clues regarding von der Leyen's political future — did she hint she wants a second term as Commission chief? Later, our colleague Eddy Wax, who covers the European Parliament for POLITICO, chairs a lively debate about the Commission president’s address with members of the European Parliament: Karen Melchior from Renew Europe, Eva Maydell representing the European People’s Party and Marc Botenga from the Left.   Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
It's “back to school” week here in Brussels, so we're looking ahead to what policies will dominate the news in the coming months. Also, our special guest is Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani.Host Suzanne Lynch is joined by POLITICO’s Sarah Wheaton and Nick Vinocur to discuss big European issues and events to watch out for in coming weeks. And there are many: the State of the Union Address by President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, the race to get the top job at the European Investment Bank, elections in 2024, migration, and, of course, enlargement of the EU bloc. Then, we get the perspective from a leader of one the countries on the path to join the EU – Kosovo. We hear from its president, Vjosa Osmani, who unpacks the challenges Kosovo is facing, including tensions with neighbouring Serbia, enlargement fatigue and inertia on the side of Brussels. Finally, we welcome our new Senior Audio Producer Dionisios Sturis, who is joining the EU Confidential team.   Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
EU Confidential returns from its summer break, bringing you this episode from the European Forum Alpbach in Austria where the theme of a "bold Europe" has prompted discussions about Europe's internal as well as geopolitical challenges.Host Suzanne Lynch sits down with Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg to discuss his suggestion that the EU needs to rethink how it expands its membership to countries like Ukraine, Moldova and hopefuls in the Western Balkans — a debate heating up this week, with both French President Emmanuel Macron and European Council President Charles Michel weighing in on the issue.Then, Suzanne gathers together an all-star panel on the sidelines of the forum to discuss whether Europe's approach to the so-called Global South has been misguided. She's joined by María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, an Ecuadorian diplomat, scientist, politician and former president of the United Nations General Assembly; Arancha González Laya, Spain's former foreign minister and now dean of the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po; and Oby Ezekwesili, former minister for education and minister of mineral resources of Nigeria, and senior economic adviser of the Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative.Remember that our episodes will now land in your podcast feeds at our new time early Friday mornings! Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
In this episode, we unpack what to expect in Brussels this August as EU decision making grinds to a halt. Also, we explore how extreme weather in Europe is weighing against tourism demands, and how politicians are responding.Host Suzanne Lynch is joined by Nicholas Vinocur, POLITICO's editor at large, and EU politics reporter Gregorio Sorgi. They explain the European Commission's "designated survivor" concept, which keeps the legislative body afloat thanks to a few (unlucky) commissioners stuck in the Berlaymont. Also, with EU decision making largely on hold, we reveal the other stories that could bubble up this summer — and forecast the big issues we can expect to dominate headlines come September.Suzanne is then joined by Zia Weise, our reporter covering climate policy, and aviation reporter Mari Eccles to discuss the extreme weather experienced by parts of Europe in July and how this is shaping everything from policymaking to tourism.Programming note: We are taking a summer break and will return on September 1 — at a new day and time! EU Confidential is moving from our usual Thursday evenings to early Friday mornings. So do be sure to follow the podcast so that you never miss an episode. See you in September! Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
We analyze the outcome of the recent elections in Spain and what it means for the country and the EU going forward. Also, we discuss the EU's proposal targeting SLAPPs — strategic lawsuits against public participation, which often target journalists and civil society activists.Host Suzanne Lynch is joined by POLITICO's Aitor Hernández-Morales to discuss the outcome of the Spanish election on July 23. Aitor explains the fascinating forces that shaped the final days of the campaign, why the outcome isn't so clear cut, and where the government goes from here. You can read all of Aitor's reporting on the election here.Then, Suzanne speaks to Andrew Caruana Galizia, the son of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who was killed in 2017 by a car bomb in an assassination that shocked Malta and the wider European community. At the time of her death, Daphne was facing dozens of so-called SLAPPs lawsuits. Andrew explains what the EU is trying to do to harmonize anti-SLAPPs legislation across the bloc, but why it's at risk of being watered down. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
In this packed episode, we explain the outcomes of this week's summit with Latin America, we debate whether Americans can hold key roles in EU institutions and discuss the power dynamics of the European Commission under Ursula von der Leyen.Host Suzanne Lynch is first joined by POLITICO's Nicholas Vinocur to discuss a story that's got everyone in Brussels talking this week: the controversy over the proposed appointment of a top U.S. anti-trust expert who's recently consulted for several Big Tech companies as the EU's chief economist. While the candidate, Fiona Scott Morton, has now said she won't take up the position, what does the pushback say about the EU and its institutions?Suzanne is then joined by POLITICO's Hans von der Burchard and Barbara Moens at the conclusion of this week's summit in Brussels with the leaders of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. The team unpacks the biggest sticking point — language condemning Russia's war in Ukraine — and explains where the two sides made progress on key goals when it comes to trade and investment. We also hear from Fredrik Persson, representing BusinessEurope, about how the EU has neglected the Latin American region and how the business community is handling sensitivities around Europe's colonial past.Finally, Suzanne speaks to Irish academic Desmond Dinan, Jean Monnet Professor at the George Mason School of Public Policy, about the power dynamics of the European Commission under its current president, Ursula von der Leyen.Also, be sure to listen to POLITICO's exclusive podcast interview this week with the head of MI6, Richard Moore — recorded for our new Power Play podcast, which launches in September! And while you're at it, follow Power Play on your favorite podcast app and sign up here to receive our email alerts when new episodes publish. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Governments around the world have committed to end HIV by 2030. The target is known as the 95-95-95 goals — 95 percent of people living with HIV diagnosed and knowing their status, 95 percent of those linked to HIV treatment and care and 95 percent of those on treatment to be undetectable, therefore unable to pass the virus on.Innovative medications have already changed HIV infection from a deadly disease to a manageable chronic condition. But to end HIV entirely, we will need to invest in innovation, develop new treatment and prevention options focusing on the needs of individuals and their preferences, new healthcare policies and new approaches to fight the stigma that HIV still carries.Host David Baker speaks to Jared Baeten, Gilead Sciences’ HIV Clinical Development Vice President; Cristina Mussini, professor of infectious diseases at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy; Maria José Fuster, professor of psychology at Spain’s National University of Distance Education in Madrid and who has been living with HIV for 34 years; and Susana Solís Pérez, a member of the European Parliament from the Renew Europe group, to find out the practical steps that Europe needs to take to end the HIV epidemic for everyone, everywhere by the end of the decade. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
This week, we bring you the latest from Vilnius as NATO leaders wrap up a crucial meeting of the defense alliance, plus all the news from Strasbourg as MEPs clash over an EU proposal to protect biodiversity.Joining our host Suzanne Lynch from the Lithuanian capital is Jan Cienski, who breaks down the outcomes of the summit — including the latest on Ukraine's membership ambitions and the thorny question of security guarantees. He also explains Turkey's crucial role in unblocking Sweden's bid to join the alliance and how the Turkish leader managed to link this decision to the country's bid for EU membership. Here's more from Suzanne and our colleague Jacopo Barigazzi.Then we turn to Strasbourg where POLITICO's Louise Guillot unpacks the outcome of one of the biggest legislative battles in recent memory over the EU's nature restoration law — pinning business and farming industries against environmentalists and conservationists. She explains how this vote was a political blow for MEP Manfred Weber, leader of the center-right EPP Group in the European Parliament who tried to block the legislation, and what it indicates about Europe's broader green ambitions.Finally, we discuss the optimum outcome from the war in Ukraine — both for Ukraine and Europe — with the authors of a new Chatham House report, Orysia Lutsevych and James Nixey. The report is called "How to end Russia’s war on Ukraine" and can be found here. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
There’s one key weapon that would be a gamechanger in the fight to end HIV transmission in Europe by 2030 – a cure. Forty years after scientists in Paris identified the virus that caused AIDS, we still don't have one. But, given that certain populations in Europe still don't have access to existing prevention, testing and treatments, there's a big question looming over the race for a cure: If it's ever found, will Europe get it to those who need it most?In this live recording of EU Confidential in focus, POLITICO's Ashleigh Furlong debates these questions with Sara Cerdas, a Portuguese Member of the European Parliament from the Socialists and Democrats group who works on health-related legislation, Belgium’s former Health Minister Maggie De Block, and Ann Isabelle von Lingen, policy and programme manager for combination prevention at the European AIDS Treatment Group.This is the third of several bonus episodes of EU Confidential coming to you this month. Your regular EU Confidential episodes will still appear in your feed every Thursday. And, if you haven't already, be sure to listen to our previous episodes on criminalizing HIV transmission and how to eliminate HIV in Europe's prisons. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
This week's EU Confidential comes to you from Madrid as Spain takes over the six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union.Spain's stint in the rotating chair has been overshadowed by a national election, with Spaniards set to go to the polls on July 23. The podcast team takes the political temperature among voters in the suburb of Alcorcón along with POLITICO's Jakob Hanke Vela, while political scientist Pablo Simón unpicks some of the political dynamics at play ahead of the election.We also speak to some of the most senior officials in the Spanish government, including Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera and First Vice President Nadia Calviño about what to expect over the next six months. For more on how Spain's summer election might play out, check out this dispatch from POLITICO's Aitor Hernández-Morales.  Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Activists have worked for years to eliminate HIV-associated stigma. But within multiple European countries, people are still prosecuted for transmitting HIV. Despite clear guidance from HIV organizations emphasizing the harms associated with criminal prosecutions of these cases, countries continue to make offenders out of people who have transmitted HIV.POLITICO's Ashleigh Furlong speaks to James, a man who's experienced the impact of HIV criminalization first-hand. We also hear from Edwin Bernard, Executive Director of the HIV Justice Network, who's been mapping HIV criminalization for years and advocating for the end of such prosecutions. And finally, we head to Bethnal Green to speak with Kat Smithson from the National AIDS Trust. She’s worked with people affected by HIV criminalization, as well as the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to try and influence legal and policy developments.This is the second of several bonus episodes of EU Confidential coming to you over the next month. Your regular EU Confidential episodes will still appear in your feed every Thursday. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Our slightly-later edition of this week's EU Confidential comes to you from on-the-ground at the European Council — where the EU's 27 leaders are discussing topics ranging from security guarantees for Ukraine, to migration and the bloc's position on China. But recent news out of Russia has many concerned about instability in the region.POLITICO's senior reporters Lili Bayer and Jacopo Barigazzi sit down with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda to discuss his concerns about potential Wagner forces in neighboring Belarus — and the threat that could pose for the EU.Then, host Suzanne Lynch is joined by Senior France Correspondent Clea Caulcutt, Senior Trade Reporter Barbara Moens and Senior Politics Reporter Hans von der Burchard to discuss security guarantees for Ukraine, migration and the EU's position on sensitive technologies made in China.And in the second half of the podcast, we pivot away from the European Council and hear from Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf. During a visit to Brussels earlier this week, he makes it clear that the EU shouldn't close the door to Scottish membership in the European Union.Programming note: The next bonus episode of our EU Confidential in focus series on HIV will drop in your feed next Tuesday. Our health care colleague Ashleigh Furlong tackles the tricky topic of criminalization around HIV. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
In the first episode of our EU Confidential: In Focus mini-series on HIV in Europe, we take you inside a French prison successfully tackling the spread of the disease.POLITICO's Sarah-Taïssir Bencharif and Cristina Gonzalez head to Montpellier to meet the medical team at Maison d’arrêt de Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone. Doctor Fadi Meroueh, the head of the prison’s clinic, explains the innovative protocols and medicines they've put in place to limit the spread of HIV among prisoners, as well as the challenges of practicing medicine in prison and the various ways HIV can spread from cell to cell.If Europe wants to eradicate HIV transmission, it must take a closer look at its prisons. The figures speak for themselves: In the WHO’s European Region, the HIV rate stands at around 0.43 percent for the general population but at least 2.6 percent among prisoners, according to the latest available data. But eliminating the disease in this complex setting is anything but easy. POLITICO takes you inside this prison to better understand the stakes, the challenges — and the successes — in stopping HIV transmission, one immune cell and jail cell at a time.This is the first of several bonus episodes of EU Confidential coming to you over the next month. Your regular EU Confidential episodes will still appear in your feed every Thursday. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
This week’s EU Confidential episode comes to you from London, where the Ukraine Recovery Conference has just wrapped up.Ukraine may still be fighting a war, but already a conversation has started about how to rebuild the country. It’s a mammoth task — the price tag is already a cool $411 billion, according to the World Bank, United Nations and European Commission — a figure that will only increase as the war grinds on. Suzanne caught up with European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis on the sidelines of the conference, about the EU’s proposed €50 billion package for the Ukraine. POLITICO’s Paola Tamma also joins us to discuss how the EU’s package will work in practice, and some of the challenges ahead.Finally, we’ll hear from Oleksandra Azarkhina, Ukraine’s deputy minister for communities, territories and infrastructure development, about the reality for Ukraine as it tries to rebuild its country in the midst of war. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
This week's episode dives deep into artificial intelligence — and how the EU is responding to this rapidly developing technology.Host Suzanne Lynch joins listeners from Strasbourg as the European Parliament took a major step forward this week on turning the EU's sweeping legislation, the Artificial Intelligence Act, into reality. We hear directly from European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton on the origins of this act, and its aims — and he addresses the criticism that it could harm innovation.POLITICO's Technology and Competition Editor Aoife White and Mark Scott, chief technology correspondent, put Europe's efforts to regulate AI into the broader context of European tech regulations and discuss how this affects Brussels' relations with the United States and others.We also hear the industry's perspective from Victoria Espinel, president and CEO at BSA | The Software Alliance. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
In this bumper edition, we explain what's behind recent large protests in Poland, why some in Brussels want to stymie Hungary in the EU decision-making process and we take you along on a new night train route from Berlin to Brussels.Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Poland at the weekend — expressing their anger at the ruling conservative government. POLITICO's Senior Policy Editor Jan Cienski explains what's driving these protests ahead of elections in Poland later this year.And in the European Parliament, a debate has erupted around how much power Hungary should have when it comes to the EU decision-making process, given rule-of-law standards in the country. Lili Bayer, POLITICO's senior reporter covering Central and Eastern Europe, explains why some are concerned about Hungary's presidency of the Council of the EU, which is set to happen next year.And finally, POLITICO's Joshua Posaner and Cristina Gonzalez take you on board the inaugural journey of a new night train traveling from Berlin to Brussels. We explore the difficulties of establishing international overnight routes in Europe and share our impressions from the journey in discussions with the co-founder of the train company as well as fellow passengers. We end our journey in Brussels where POLITICO's Hanne Cokelaere speaks to Belgium's Transport Minister Georges Gilkinet about his efforts to make his country a hub for European sleeper trains. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
This week's episode comes to you from the second meeting of the European Political Community in the Moldovan capital of Chișinău. With over 40 heads of state and government invited to attend, host Suzanne Lynch discusses what's at stake for the European continent with senior France Correspondent Clea Caulcutt. We dive into the prospects for countries like Moldova and Ukraine to join the EU, as well as other issues that have bubbled up in recent days, including clashes in North Kosovo. On that issue, we hear exclusively from Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti, who spoke to POLITICO's Chief Europe Correspondent Matthew Karnitschnig and senior reporter Lili Bayer on the sidelines of the GLOBSEC conference in Bratislava.Suzanne also speaks with Moldovan Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu, as well as Iulian Groza, the head of a Moldovan think tank called the Institute for European Policies and Reforms. We also hear from other EU leaders attending the EPC meeting, as well as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
This week, we debate the EU's latest attempt to combat foreign influence with its forthcoming "Defence of Democracy package," which some in Brussels claim could result in unintended consequences.POLITICO's Suzanne Lynch speaks to the European Commission’s special adviser on foreign interference, Ivana Karásková, a Czech academic and expert on Chinese influence. She provides insight into the degree of foreign influence in the European Union. She also explains the rationale behind a specific piece of this package, which is causing concern, particularly among NGOs: potential rules that would subject civil society organizations to report if they receive funding from third-country donors.Then we're joined by Sarah Wheaton, POLITICO's chief policy correspondent and author of our EU Influence newsletter, and Nicholas Aiossa, deputy director and head of policy and advocacy at Transparency International EU. They dig into the concerns that this package will have unintended consequences for European democracy — and discuss what better tools the Commission could consider with an eye on better transparency in EU advocacy and lobbying. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
This week, we dive into the political upheaval in Bulgaria and the resignation of the country's EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel. And we begin our spotlight series on the European Parliament, as the dates for elections next year are finalized.Host Suzanne Lynch is joined by Christian Oliver, POLITICO's head of news, and Antoaneta Roussi, our cybersecurity reporter and Bulgaria expert. They reveal how Bulgaria’s mafia state is reaching its breaking point and why these rapid political changes have resulted in the resignation of Gabriel — who's been tapped to form a coalition government back home. But what kind of reputation does she leave behind in Brussels? We answer that question and explain what's next for Ursula von der Leyen's Commission.And in the week when the dates of the next European parliamentary election have been set for June 6 to June 9, our colleague Souwie Buis introduces us to two of its newest members, Damian Boeselager and Kim van Sparrentak. They give us the inside scoop on how they became MEPs and the surprising things they've learned on the job, as well as how the Parliament could be reformed ahead of the next election. POLITICO's politics reporter covering the Parliament Eddy Wax also joins the discussion. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Comments (6)

Alex De Marco

Us: not one mention of peace. In fact just more war. China now. Digusting

Jun 11th

Alex De Marco

"tension when you mention the obstention" was the best delivered line ever.

Apr 26th

Alex De Marco

It's absolutely insane that the propagandists here think it's a bad thing that Austria's PM met with Putin. Does diplomacy exist anymore? Are we just resigned to perpetual war with a major nuclear power? Do we want to be living in fear of bombs again? Even Kennedy talked to Kruschev during the missile crisis. Stop the war mongering.

Apr 15th

Midnight Rambler

anti Eu your FAR right! 😂

Jun 4th

Midnight Rambler

Lil clegg the censor chief

May 17th

Midnight Rambler

the joy of censorship

Mar 25th
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