EU Scream

EU Scream

European progressive politics podcast from Brussels... Show More

Episodes

February 16, 2021 31 min

James Crisp has Boris Johnson's old job in Brussels covering EU affairs for The Daily Telegraph. James often writes with that jaundiced eye on the European project you'd expect from a correspondent on a venerable Conservative UK newspaper. But James continues to command respect for sharp and informed questioning of EU authorities. This episode starts with James recalling a family trip to Mini-Europe, a theme park featuring ...

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February 2, 2021 39 min

Political scientist Daniel Ziblatt is best known for co-authoring the 2018 bestseller How Democracies Die. The book is an indictment of US Republicans and their failure to resist Donald Trump. Daniel's work also examines how conservative parties have largely determined whether democracy thrived, as in Britain, or died, as in Weimar Germany. In this episode he discusses dilemmas facing Europe's modern-day conservative partie...

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Can the European Union do more to hold back the kinds of malign forces that overran the US Capitol claiming to defend democracy? It's not an idle question. Democratic shortcomings in the European Union are regularly invoked by the far right to whip up nationalist sentiment. The effect has been to weaponise the European project against itself. Rather than a citizens' insurrection, what's foreseen in the EU is a period of...

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December 13, 2020 29 min

Politicians mostly talk about shutting migrants out. That endangers migrants' lives and obscures an important truth: that Europe already relies on large numbers of migrants for farming and manufacturing. The reliance includes significant numbers of irregular migrants and refugees. But getting honest about this phenomenon has long been taboo for Europe's political class. Giulia Laganà of the Open Society European Policy Inst...

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December 2, 2020 39 min

Brussels is increasingly expected to serve as the European Union's sheriff on rule of law. But its ability to enforce adherence to democratic norms and values remains weak. Mehreen Khan of the Financial Times talks about the EU's latest showdown with Poland and Hungary. She also discusses illiberal trends in France and her own brush with the country's newly restrictive climate for free expression. Politics expert Garvan...

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November 9, 2020 38 min

Strategic autonomy has become the mantra for European Union officials. It started as a broadly French idea: that Europe needs sufficient military power to promote peace and security independent of the US. The idea has evolved to include power in trade and technology to enable Europe to avoid getting squeezed by China and America. Now with Joe Biden as US president-elect, the concept is again up for debate.

Nathalie Tocci wrote the E...

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Intersectionality is the concept that overlapping identities — disability, gender, race and sexual orientation for example — create forms of discrimination that can go unaddressed. But many European Union leaders are wary of the kind of identity politics that intersectionality implies. That resistance may be stiffening now that France is promoting traditional republican identities for its citizens so zealously. Emilia Roig is the f...

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Bigots and far-right extremists are using online violence to try to silence feminists and LGBT people. It's a cowardly tactic since perpetrators don’t have to meet their targets. We hear stories from two Europeans on the receiving end: Irantzu Varela, a prominent feminist in Spain and host of the popular YouTube show El Tornillo; and Simeon Vasilev, the co-founder and chief executive of the GLAS Foundation, an organization prom...

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Ylva Johansson is done with drama queen discussions that portray migrants and refugees as an existential threat to Europe. Johansson is the European Commissioner for home affairs and she’d like to make migration a more normal issue. She’d also like to win the approval of all EU member states for a new proposal for a common asylum and migration policy — something her predecessors failed to do. But the real test for Johansson may be ...

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The European Union has embarked on a push against racism amid protests following the killing of George Floyd. But important questions remain about whether some EU leaders and policies, and the bloc’s broadly federalist priorities, are the best choices for achieving that goal. Mehreen Khan, EU correspondent for the Financial Times, assesses the anti-racism credentials of the European Commission under the leadership of President Ursu...

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June 16, 2020 32 min

Computing known as artificial intelligence sorts vast amounts of data — faces, our web browsing habits, even our gestures — into automated predictions used by companies and governments. The technology holds great promise for applications like diagnosing disease and preventing catastrophes. Yet it can exacerbate discrimination and inequality, and be used to erode democracy. Despite concerns about human rights and civil liberties, an...

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Standing up to bullies was ingrained in Frans Timmermans from his schooldays. The Dutchman came to prominence six years ago as his country's foreign minister with an emotional speech at the United Nations. Russian-backed separatists had shot down Flight MH17 packed with Dutch nationals, and Timmermans channelled the sentiments of a shocked nation to the world. In his next job as first vice president of the European Commission, ...

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May 5, 2020 40 min

Lockdowns in response to the coronavirus mean cities are quieter, skies clearer, and breathing is easier. For many city dwellers the lack of cars tearing through their streets has been a revelation amid the suffering and loss inflicted by Covid-19. Now, as lockdowns ease, some cities are putting plans to keep cars out into hyperdrive. Those moves foretell the kind of Europe where living together more sustainably becomes the norm. B...

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April 20, 2020 32 min

Italians were hit hardest when the coronavirus landed in Europe but the European Union was slow to help the country. The president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has apologised — twice. The contrition is better late than never, says Marco Zatterin, deputy editor of La Stampa newspaper in Turin. Even so, far-right anti-European forces have been able to exploit the procrastination to regain traction. That has renewed...

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April 12, 2020 30 min

The coronavirus outbreak has been a pretext for government censorship and a crackdown on journalists, who have been exposed to new criminal charges as well as violent attacks. Among those targeted by official smear campaigns is Blaž Zgaga, a best-selling author from Slovenia. To keep tabs on the abuses linked to Covid-19, press freedom organization Reporters sans frontières has created a service called Tracker 19. Head of the organ...

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April 5, 2020 30 min

Eric Mamer took over last year as chief spokesperson for the European Commission, an institution he’s served since mid-1990s. When journalists were barred from his press room in March because of coronavirus, the amiable Frenchman had to improvise. His challenge is to put a crisis to good use: by reaffirming the relevance of the Commission’s midday briefing even as member states stretch the rules his institution is meant to enforce ...

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Věra Jourová is the Czech politician who is vice-president for values and transparency at the European Commission, the body that proposes and enforces laws across the European Union. She was listed among the 100 most influential people of 2019 by Time magazine for helping pass GDPR — rules protecting Europeans' personal data — in her prior role as Europe’s justice commissioner. The Covid-19 emergency has added urgency to her ne...

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March 23, 2020 21 min

Concern is growing that emergency powers deployed to control the coronavirus pandemic are being used to erode democracy and civil rights. Joelle Grogan, a senior lecturer in law at Middlesex University London, describes the curbs on liberty that may be coming your way — and what can be done so such measures are proportionate and fair. Grogan also sounds the alarm about steps that could allow Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to...

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March 11, 2020 28 min

Michael Peel of the Financial Times unpicks the patterns underlying the authoritarian revival in Europe and worldwide. His recently published book, The Fabulists, explores how leaders menace democracy and human rights while claiming to be modernizers and saviors. It's an artfully written journalistic memoir from a decade of foreign correspondence. It's also a cautionary tale about how quickly countries catch the autocracy v...

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February 9, 2020 31 min

How are campaigners winning progressive victories in the age of bigots and bullies? Kajal Odedra is the UK director of Change.org, a global petition service that allows members of the public to mobilise support for issues they care about. She’s also the author of the 2019 book Do Something: Activism for Everyone. Andrew Stroehlein is the European Media Director for Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organisation ...

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