EU Confidential Episode 28: Estonia’s EU presidency — Bulgaria’s big moment — Iran protests


Episode 28 of POLITICO’s EU Confidential podcast has just been released, featuring Kaja Tael, Estonia’s ambassador to the EU, who looks back on her country’s six months running the bloc’s rotating presidency. And POLITICO’s Christian Oliver previews the challenges for Bulgaria’s 2018 EU presidency, from domestic infighting to far-right ministers.

Download this episode to listen offline via Apple Podcasts.

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.

Murky Bulgaria: Bulgarians will face conflicting emotions during the presidency, Christian Oliver says. “There’s a broad public perception in Bulgaria that — of course you don’t want you own country to look bad —  but equally people think their political class is so bad they should be punished, and held accountable.”

Partisan fights at home: Oliver is skeptical that Bulgaria’s politicians will be able to unite to ensure a smooth presidency: “Infighting is a very big thing, point-scoring is more important than everyone pulling together.”

A Eurocrat’s survival guide to Sofia: A youthful, energetic city will offer pleasant surprises if visiting officials and lobbyists know where to look, Christian says.

Iran: Our podcast panel discusses the EU’s response to the protests.

ICYMI — The previous EU Confidential, presented by Raytheon: POLITICO reporters reviewed 2017 and Andrew Gray interviewed NATO deputy assistant secretary general Jamie Shea just before the holiday break.

**A message from Raytheon: For more than 100 years, Raytheon has proved its commitment to partnering with industries and allies in Europe to advance new technologies and increase protection against a full spectrum of threats. In a world of uncertainty, Raytheon is defending our trans-Atlantic partners by creating trusted, tested and innovative solutions that make the world a safer place.**

Source: Politico

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