EU Confidential

POLITICO Europe

From Brussels and around the Continent — the top European politics podcast.

  • 33 minutes 13 seconds
    As it happened: Ursula von der Leyen’s secret ballot triumph

    Big decisions awaited the new class of MEPs this week: Whether to back Ursula von der Leyen for a second term atop the Commission; which committee assignments to pursue; and, most urgently, which Parliament bar to visit to get away from it all.

    Join host Sarah Wheaton for a romp through the Strasbourg seat of the European Parliament, and relive a week that was so crucial for Europe's direction over the next five years.

    Sarah is joined by POLITICO's Eddy Wax, who takes us behind the scenes of all the horse-trading and political maneuvers during the week, in which the parliament's key leadership positions were decided and the legislature's support for von der Leyen was confirmed.

    She also speaks to several MEPs including Hannah Neumann, a Green MEP from Germany who was reelected, and outgoing MEP Jan Zahradil — the long-serving (and sometimes controversial) Czech MEP, who reflects on his 20+ years in the Parliament and describes what has changed for Euroskeptic politicians in the hemicycle.


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    19 July 2024, 2:01 am
  • 31 minutes 18 seconds
    Viktor Orbán's rogue “peace missions” to Kyiv, Moscow, Beijing and Washington

    Just days into his country's rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orbán again stunned other European leaders by setting off on a series of visits to Kyiv, Moscow and Beijing, styling himself as a peace negotiator with a mandate from Brussels.

    Host Sarah Wheaton and POLITICO's chief EU correspondent Barbara Moens discuss Orbán's rough-and-tumble diplomacy tour and reactions it has provoked among the bloc's politicians and diplomats. But beyond angry tweets and statements clarifying that Orbán represents only his own country and not the bloc as a whole, are there other, more effective ways to rein in a leader whom is viewed as out of line?

    Then we zoom in on Washington, where NATO leaders have gathered for their annual summit to celebrate the alliance's 75th anniversary and pledge continued support for Ukraine. Joining us from Washington is Stuart Lau, POLITICO's NATO correspondent.

    Finally, we have a conversation with José Manuel Barroso, who previously led the European Commission for 10 years. He reflects on the results of the European elections and offers advice to Ursula von der Leyen and other European leaders on what can be done to boost people's support for EU integration.

    Further reading and listening:

    French election shocker: reaction and analysis, by Nicholas Vinocur, Marion Solletty and our Paris team

    EU fumes at rogue Orbán, but struggles to rein him in, by Barbara Moens

    Orbán parrots Putin’s lines on Ukraine in leaked letter to EU chief, by Csongor Körömi and Barbara Moens

    Divided, reshuffled and politically bruised: Europe’s leaders head to the NATO summit by Stuart Lau and Laura Kayali

    NATO backs Ukraine’s ‘irreversible path’, names China a ‘decisive enabler’ in Russia’s war, by Stuart Lau


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    12 July 2024, 2:00 am
  • 20 minutes 18 seconds
    French election shocker: reaction and analysis

    France has voted and the results are in — our POLITICO team in Paris discusses the surprising results of the final round of the parliamentary election in this special episode of EU Confidential.

    Host Nicholas Vinocur is first joined by POLITICO's Victor Goury-Laffont to break down the results and explain how President Emmanuel Macron’s centrists and the left-wing alliance mobilized to stymie Marine Le Pen’s far right National Rally.

    POLITICO's executive editor in France, Marion Solletty, joins the podcast to discuss where France goes from here.

    We also hear from POLITICO's Giorgio Leali, calling in from the National Rally's election event, and Nicolas Camut, checking in from one of the left-wing alliance’s parties, France Unbowed.

    We hope you enjoy this special episode of EU Confidential from Paris. We'll be back in your feeds on Friday, as usual.


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    8 July 2024, 2:01 am
  • 30 minutes 59 seconds
    Panic mode: Biden and Le Pen imperil mainstream politics

    Just days before the final round of France's snap parliamentary elections, we discuss possible scenarios for what could emerge from the messy political situation in Paris: shiny new leaders, a shaky new government, rocky cohabitation — or even more chaos.

    Host Sarah Wheaton talks to POLITICO's senior correspondent in Paris, Clea Caulcutt.

    Later she's joined by former U.S. Ambassador to the EU Anthony Gardner and the director of the German Marshall Fund's Berlin office, Sudha David-Wilp. They break down the reactions of European leaders to President Joe Biden's poor performance in last week's debate with challenger Donald Trump, their doubts over Biden's prospects in November's election, and how Europe is approaching the possibility of Trump 2.0.

    Finally, to mark the start of Hungary's presidency of the Council of the EU, we have a dispatch from POLITICO reporter Eddy Wax, who sailed down the Danube recently on a trip to Budapest.

    If you're hungry for more election coverage, please tune in to POLITICO's Power Play, Westminster Insider and Politics at Jack and Sam's. This week they'll all be tackling the July 4 general election in the U.K.

    Programming alert! A special episode with news and analysis on the results of the second round of the French elections will be delivered to your feed on Monday morning. Don't miss it!


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    5 July 2024, 2:00 am
  • 29 minutes 5 seconds
    EU top jobs deal — French election, round 1

    Straight from the European Council summit, we bring you the latest news and analysis on a range of tough issues on the leaders' agenda.

    Host Sarah Wheaton is joined by POLITICO colleagues Barbara Moens and Aitor Hernández-Morales to discuss how EU leaders agreed on who they want to lead the top EU institutions over the next five years.

    With Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as a special guest at the summit, EU leaders also talked about Ukraine — following the official opening of accession talks between Brussels and Kyiv earlier this week.

    Finally, we speak to Clea Caulcutt, our senior correspondent in Paris. She unpacks the prospects of Sunday's first round of snap parliamentary elections.

    Further reading:

    EU leaders arrive to discuss top jobs at high-stakes meeting — live updates by POLITICO

    Giorgia Meloni hits out at EU top jobs backroom deal by Barbara Moens, Hannah Roberts and Giorgio Leali

    Far right seizes France’s conservative heartlands by Clea Caulcutt

    French election: Your guide to a vote that is set to shake the EU and NATO by Clea Caulcutt


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    28 June 2024, 2:34 am
  • 34 minutes 22 seconds
    MEGA shift in the EU's balance of power

    Almost two weeks after the EU election, there is still a lot of political manoeuvring going on — both in Brussels and in national capitals.

    First, POLITICO's chief EU correspondent, Barbara Moens, recaps of the race for the top jobs after European leaders failed to reach a deal at their informal dinner in Brussels earlier this week.

    Then, we zoom in on the countries and leaders who until recently were calling the shots, but now seem weakened — and those who are trying to seize the new zeitgeist and claim more power than they've had in the past. 

    Host Sarah Wheaton and POLITICO's chief Europe correspondent in Berlin, Matthew Karnitschnig, discuss the precarious situation in which German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the parties in his governing coalition find themselves as a result of the EU vote.

    Later, we move to Poland and take a look at Donald Tusk and his increasingly dominant position among European leaders. Sarah is joined by Andrzej Bobiński, journalist and managing director of Polityka Insight in Warsaw, and Jan Cienski, POLITICO's senior political editor.

    And finally, Hungary's newly-unveiled slogan for its upcoming presidency of the Council of the EU may be "Make Europe Great Again," but we here at EU Confidential are all about MAGA: Making Audio Great Again. So do keep sending your ideas and comments to [email protected].

    Further reading:

    EU leaders fail to agree on von der Leyen’s second term , by Barbara Moens, Jacopo Barigazzi and Stuart Lau

    Time runs out for Olaf Scholz, by Matthew Karnitschnig


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    21 June 2024, 2:00 am
  • 24 minutes 5 seconds
    Macron challenges French voters and spooks Brussels

    As the EU comes to terms with its new (sort of) political reality following last weekend's European Parliament election, France is already back in campaign mode — preparing for snap elections called unexpectedly by President Emmanuel Macron.

    The French president dissolved the National Assembly in response to the massive success of the far-right National Rally in the European election (and the poor showing of his own Renaissance party).

    Host Sarah Wheaton and her colleagues discuss Macron's shock decision and whether his gamble can pay off. She's joined by senior Paris correspondent Clea Caulcutt, politics reporter Victor Goury-Laffont, and POLITICO's editor-at-large Nick Vinocur. The team also looks at how the political earthquake in Paris is reverberating in Brussels and whether it will affect the ongoing race for the EU's top jobs.

    Further readings:

    Is Macron too toxic to win? by Clea Caulcutt, Victor Goury-Laffont, Sarah Paillou and Pauline de Saint Remy

    3 ways Macron’s election punt could go wrong by Victor Goury-Laffont


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    14 June 2024, 2:00 am
  • 39 minutes 4 seconds
    EU election results — Europe swings to the right

    As election result projections were revealed on Sunday evening, our EU Confidential team recorded a live episode with first reactions and analysis from our POLITICO newsroom.

    Host Sarah Wheaton and the team looked beyond the numbers and analyzed the direction the EU might take as a consequence of the vote. We also discussed French President Emmanuel Macron's shock decision to dissolve the parliament after the far-right National Rally won the popular vote.

    Our guests were POLITICO editor-in-chief Jamil Anderlini, data reporter and election expert Hanne Cokelaere, cybersecurity editor Laurens Cerulus, senior EU correspondent Barbara Moens and politics reporter Eddy Wax.

    You can also watch our Election Night Live event here.


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    10 June 2024, 2:01 am
  • 32 minutes 41 seconds
    What the EU election is actually about

    As voting gets underway throughout the EU, we check in on the polls and learn which stories are dominating the headlines in capitals around Europe.

    Host Sarah Wheaton discusses the latest polling numbers with our data reporter Hanne Cokelaere. Be sure to check out POLITICO's Poll of Polls for the latest insights.

    We also hear from colleagues around Europe who explain which stories are uppermost in voters' minds as they head to the ballot box.

    Aitor Hernández-Morales gives us a snapshot from Spain, where the vote is seen as a referendum on the government, and where a surprise diplomatic spat between Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Argentina's President Javier Milei could sway some voters.

    Charlie Duxbury in Sweden explains how a focus on migration is working for the far-right Sweden Democrats.

    Clea Caulcutt in France says it's all about President Emmanuel Macron and far-right National Rally leader Jordan Bardella.

    And Hans von der Burchard tells us how the war in Ukraine is polarizing Germany's governing coalition, and predicts how big a factor the recent killing of a German police officer could be for rival parties.

    Further reading:

    All politics is local: What the EU election is actually about in each country, by POLITICO

    Putin’s a bigger deal than EU election in Europe’s frontline states, by Charlie Duxbury and Bartosz Brzeziński

    Programming alert! We'll be doing a special video livestream taping of EU Confidential on Sunday from 8:30-9:15 p.m. Sign up to watch us on election night as the preliminary results are released, and then check your EU Confidential podcast feed on Monday morning for highlights of our election night analysis.


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    7 June 2024, 2:00 am
  • 33 minutes 29 seconds
    Key EU policies — how will they change after the vote?

    With just a week to go until the European election and the campaign in full gear, we're focusing on how the vote will impact key EU policies such as health, energy, climate, technology and defense.

    Will they be affected by the shake-up of the bloc's political landscape and the arrival of new MEPs and commissioners — or will continuity with the policy priorities of the last five years prevail? And what about the money to finance new and super costly defense ambitions and the green transition? Will the predicted surge of the far right affect these dynamics?

    To answer these questions, we bring you a special episode. It's a conversation that took place recently at an exclusive, invitation-only POLITICO event organized for our Pro Connect subscribers — usually under Chatham House rules. It's moderated by POLITICO's policy editor Joanna Roberts, and her guests were: POLITICO's technology and competition editor Aoife White, energy and climate editor Cory Bennett, health editor Helen Collis and Jan Cienski, our senior policy editor and an expert on mobility and defense.

    The event was part of our POLITICO Pro Connect "In Conversation with" series, which you can learn more about here.

    Finally, we'll be recording a special livestream edition of EU Confidential on Sunday, June 9 starting at 8:30 p.m. as the EU election results roll in. Register here to watch live!


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    31 May 2024, 2:00 am
  • 36 minutes 35 seconds
    EU election 101 — your questions answered

    This is your essential (and entertaining!) guide to the upcoming European election — everything you've wanted to know but been too afraid to ask.

    With the crucial vote just two weeks away, we reached out to you, our European and American listeners, on social media and collected the most pressing election-related questions. Both veterans of the Brussels bubble and political novices seem to be wondering about everything from: can you vote online to does it even matter?

    Host Sarah Wheaton and her panel of POLITICO's election experts delve into the nitty-gritty of voting and what happens next. Sarah's joined by politics reporter Eddy Wax, chief EU correspondent Barbara Moens and cybersecurity editor Laurens Cerulus.


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    24 May 2024, 2:00 am
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