In the first half of 2022, the European Union finds itself at a crossroads. Two years of a global pandemic and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine have set into motion a major geopolitical crisis cutting to the very heart of EU policy.

Three countries (Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova) are working their way towards accession to the EU, their clear European choice a thorn in Russia’s side. In an effort to extend his sphere of influence, Russian President Vladimir Putin is de-facto occupying territory in all three countries.

None of these countries are in NATO although Ukraine and Georgia have been knocking on the door for almost twenty years. All three countries have strong European aspirations. The upcoming European Council in June might decide to recognise the three countries as candidates for membership. The European Commission is currently preparing its opinions on the three applications.

In this discussion with special guest Richard Youngs, we discuss the EU membership prospects of these three countries. Richard Youngs is a leading European expert on the topic of EU accession, the neighbourhood, and conflict. He is a Senior Fellow at the Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program of Carnegie Europe, Professor at the University of Warwick, visiting professor at the College of Europe, and author of over 15 books on EU foreign policy, democracy and Eastern Europe.

EuropeChats is is the flagship podcast of TEPSA and it is part of the TEPSA Podcast Channel “Europe Speaks”

Music: Worakls, 22 September 2014, Salzburg, Hungry music

 

In the first episode of EuropeChats for 2022, we discuss one key aspect of the European Council’s functioning: the conclusions issued at the end of each meeting. We will try to understand how they have evolved, what their key purpose is and how they come about. At the end of our talk, we will also suggest a few recommendations on how to best write and use European Council Conclusions.

The European Council gathers together the Heads of State or Government from the European Union’s Member States. It has over the years become the EU’s agenda setter, shaping key milestones in European integration. In the early years, the European Council did not exist - and it had no formal role or legal basis in the Treaties. Nevertheless, the Heads of State and Government, wanting to meet to discuss the progress of EU affairs and common policies, started to meet in summits in the 1960s and 1970s. The European Council, in a sense, created itself. And since that time it has had its role formalised and clearly defined.

TEPSA Secretary-General Jim Cloos drafted European Council Conclusions for years as part of his role as  Deputy Director General for General and Institutional Policy at the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union. He knows how the conclusions have changed over time, how they are written, who has an input on their content, and ultimately, he knows how to read past their often complex and confusing language. If you ever wanted to understand more about the crucial role of the EU's agenda setter, he is a leading expert!

EuropeChats is is the flagship podcast of TEPSA and it is part of the TEPSA Podcast Channel “Europe Speaks”

Music: Worakls, 22 September 2014, Salzburg, Hungry music

In this new episode of EU History Explained, Giulia Bonacquisti, Project Manager at the Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA), takes a look at the history of one of the most important Institutions of the European Union: the European Council.

The European Council gathers together the Heads of State or Government from the European Union’s Member States. It has over the years become the EU’s agenda setter, shaping key milestones in European integration, but despite this, its history as a formal Institution of the EU doesn’t go back too far.

In this video, we take a look back over decades of European integration, tracking the development of the summits that would later become the formal European Council. Starting in the 1960s as informal summit meetings spearheaded by France in an effort to limit the supranational character of the European Community, a number of developments brought about the end of the summit practice, and the foundation of the European Council. In a context of international instability, the need for momentum to integrate further, and pushed for by French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, the late 1960s and early 1970s brought about the birth of the European Council. From there, we move through several Treaty changes, culminating in the signing of the Lisbon Treaty in 2007, which formalised the European Council as an EU Institution and defined its current role.

EU History Explained is TEPSA's video series exploring the origins of the modern EU. If you have ever wondered how the European Union of today came to be, or what lies behind the talk of politics being shaped in 'Brussels', then this is the series for you!

We would like to thank the Historical Archives of the European Union at the European University Institute and Roland Parr for their contribution.

Script: Giulia Bonacquisti
Recording & Editing: Tanguy Babled & Hugh Evans
Music: Garrett Bevins - Infinite - Infinite (Wondershare Filmora X)

In this new episode of #EUHistoryExplained, Giulia Bonacquisti, Project Manager at the Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA), takes a look at the troubled history of the UK's relations with Europe. 

It is two years since the United Kingdom formally left the European Union, and over one year since the end of the #Brexit transition period. But the difficult relations between the UK and the EU didn't start in 2016. From a stop-start accession process filled with hurdles and challenges, through a series of opt-outs from EU policies, and culminating in a tense series of Brexit negotiations, the UK's involvement in the European project has been troubled since the start. 

In this video, we take a look back over the last 90 years of European integration, from the British perspective. Beginning with Churchill's championing of a European project without British involvement in the 1930s, and moving through successive British governments' attempts to balance their interests between the Commonwealth & USA and the emerging Common Market in Europe, the path to British accession to the EEC in 1973 was a difficult one. But the trouble didn't end there, and we also explore the decades of British membership, moving through Thatcher's critiques of the Community and tense debate over the British contribution to the European budget, and a series of British opt-outs from major EU policies such as Schengen and the Europe. Finally, we explore the impact of all this history on the current state of relations. After Brexit, the UK has gone from a member with many opt-outs to an outside seeking opt-ins. What can the history of UK-EU relations teach us about their future? 

EU History Explained is TEPSA's video series exploring the origins of the modern EU. If you have ever wondered how the European Union of today came to be, or what lies behind the talk of politics being shaped in 'Brussels', then this is the series for you! 

We would like to thank the Historical Archives of the European Union at the European University Institute for their contribution. 

Script: Giulia Bonacquisti 
Recording & Editing: Tanguy Babled & Hugh Evans 
Music: Garrett Bevins - Infinite - Infinite (Wondershare Filmora X) 

In this episode of EuropeChats, Jim and Mariam look back at the challenges faces by the EU in 2021, and think ahead to 2022 to consider what may lay ahead for the European project.

 

2021 remained mired in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and 2022 looks set to continue that trend, in a context of disappointing global vaccination rates and the new Omicron variant of the disease. But Europe was not only face by the challenge of coronavirus in 2021: a hostile global environment , not only when looking at Russia and China, but also at Europe's borders, played its part in the story of 2021, and the EU must seek true strategic autonomy to deal with it in 2022 and beyond. The climate emergency continues, and despite good moves in the right direction, the existential thread of climate catastrophe remains. But it's not all doom and gloom, so check out this latest episode and enjoy the discussion. See you in 2022 for more EuropeChats!

EuropeChats is is the flagship podcast of TEPSA and it is part of the TEPSA Podcast Channel “Europe Speaks”

Music: Worakls, 22 September 2014, Salzburg, Hungry music

In this special episode of EuropeChats, we are joined by Prof. Michael Kaeding. Michael is Jean Monnet Chair ad personam at the University of Duisburg Essen, and along with Johannes Pollak and Paul Schmidt, he is co-editor of a series of books stemming from the TEPSA Network.

The "Views from the Capitals" series draws on the expertise of the TEPSA Network to produce books that analyse topical European issues from the perspective of each EU Member State and neighbouring countries, and help understand the future of the European project. The latest edition, "European Solidarity in Action and the Future of Europe: Views from the Capitals", is the topic of today's episode. 

The book sheds light on how Member States and EU neighbours reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic through the lens of European solidarity, what they expect from the EU, and other Member States, and how they are ready to contribute to common action. The volume reveals how European countries experience and perceive solidarity from the EU and towards the EU in different policy dimensions, such as intra-EU mobility, healthcare and financial and economic aspects of Europe’s recovery.  

The spread of COVID-19 appears to have turned the world upside down. The pandemic has put enormous stress on the global economy. Its impact on the European Union, its Member States and neighbouring countries poses the biggest challenge since its existence. It is the latest stress test of the Europe’s solidarity after being pummeled by the eurozone debt turmoil, the migration crisis of 2015-16 and Brexit. Whether the EU can bounce back and what shape the recovery will take depends on what actions the member states are willing to take individually and collectively in the days, weeks and months to come. 

We're discussing these topics and many more, so check it out! 

EuropeChats is is the flagship podcast of TEPSA and it is part of the TEPSA Podcast Channel “Europe Speaks”  

In this special episode of EuropeChats, we are honoured to be joined by Ailish Campbell, the Ambassador of Canada to the European Union, to discuss EU-Canada relations: where have we been, how far have we come, and where are we going? Canada is one of Europe's most important international allies, and at a time of change for Europe and the world, it is important to take stock of such relationships. 

Ambassador Campbell arrived in Brussels at the height of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020. Faced with this unprecedented medical and economic crisis, we ask her how difficult is was to get settled in a new city in such circumstances, especially as a diplomat. We then move on to questions of policy: how does the Ambassador assess the current state of EU-Canada relations writ-large? And how has the CETA Agreement evolved in Canada, against the backdrop of severe debate in Europe? Jim and Ailish also discuss the efforts the EU and Canada are taking to vaccinate the world against COVID-19 and recover in good order from the devastation of the pandemic. And of course, the ever-present threat of climate emergency is also discussed: what are the Ambassador's thoughts on the results of COP26 in Glasgow? Are we taking significant enough steps to mitigate the effects of climate change, or is there yet more to be done? 

We're discussing these topics and many more, so check it out! 

EuropeChats is is the flagship podcast of TEPSA and it is part of the TEPSA Podcast Channel “Europe Speaks”  

Music: Worakls, 22 September 2014, Salzburg, Hungry music

In this special episode of EuropeChats, we are taking a look at the serious issue of migration, with TEPSA Secretary-General Jim Cloos interviewing Giles Merritt on the subject of his book "People Power: Why We Need More Migrants". 

The flaws of the Dublin system having been laid bare by the Refugee Crisis of the mid-2010s, migration has shot to the forefront of EU debate. In Hungary, government rhetoric during the crisis shifted dramatically towards fearmongering immigration, and a crisis was caused with Croatia and the EU when Hungary closed its southern border. But it isn't only in Hungary that migration has caused controversy: in the United Kingdom, migration took center-stage in the Brexit debate, and in Bulgaria, since 2014 a fence has been erected along the Turkish border to reduce immigration. The story is much the same across the rest of Europe: migration has become the chief political hot-potato in the EU. 

While some see the influx of economic migrants and refugees as a threat, others advocate in favour of migration in the interests of the European Union both economically and socially. One of those people is Giles Merritt, a journalist, author and broadcaster who has for over four decades specialised in European public policy questions. In 2010 he was named by the Financial Times as one of its 30 most influential “Eurostars”, together with the European Commission’s President and NATO’s Secretary General. Merritt is the Founder of Friends of Europe, and was its Secretary General between 1999 and 2015, and its Chairman between 2016 and 2020. 

We’re discussing these topics and many more! Check it out! 

EuropeChats is with Jim Cloos & Mariam Khotenashvili is the flagship podcast of TEPSA and it is part of the TEPSA Podcast Channel “Europe Speaks”  

Music: Worakls, 22 September 2014, Salzburg, Hungry music 

In this new episode of #EuropeChats, we’re taking a look at the legacy of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Chancellor Merkel announced this year that she would be standing down after 16 years in power. The German elections took place on 26 September 2021, and for the first time since 2005, we knew she would not emerge as Chancellor.

TEPSA Secretary-General Jim Cloos prepared European Council summits throughout Merkel's period in office, and shares with us his impressions of her European leadership through a series of crises since 2005.

"Ms. Merkel came into power in 2005. This was the year when a new MFF was being negotiated. It was as always a highly controversial matter, with Germany playing a key role as the biggest net payer. After the failure to conclude under Luxembourg presidency (not the fault of LU!), she worked hard with the new UK presidency to find consensus at the EUCO. In other words, she almost immediately made her mark in Brussels. She surprised people with her quiet authority, her knowledge of the files and her tactical skills"

But we also look at some of Chancellor Merkel's failures and controversies, including the famous "Wir Schaffen Das!" statement which Jim argues created divisions in Europe at the time of the Refugee Crisis, and critiques of Merkel's indecision in the area of foreign policy

We’re discussing these topics and many more! Check it out!

EuropeChats is with Jim Cloos & Mariam Khotenashvili is the flagship podcast of TEPSA and it is part of the TEPSA Podcast Channel “Europe Speaks”

Music: Worakls, 22 September 2014, Salzburg, Hungry music

In this new episode of EU History Explained, Giulia Bonacquisti, Project Manager at the Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA), takes a look at the history of one of the most important parts of the European Union: the Euro, our common currency. 

In a few months, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the introduction of Euro banknotes and coins, which came into circulation on January 1st 2002. But the history of our common currency stretches back a lot further than that, way back to 1957 and the Treaty of Rome, which outlined measures to promote coordination in economic and monetary matters. But it was not until the early 1970s that policy started to be shaped in the wake of the end of the Bretton Woods system and the Werner Report.  

Since then, economic integration has progressed through the Delors presidency of the European Commission, through the Chancellorship of Helmut Schmidt in Germany and the Presidency of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing in France, and into the 1990s when the Maastricht Treaty founded the modern European Union and economic integration accelerated, culminating in the introduction of the Euro in 1999 as a virtual single currency. 

EU History Explained is TEPSA's video series exploring the origins of the modern EU. If you have ever wondered how the European Union of today came to be, or what lies behind the talk of politics being shaped in 'Brussels', then this is the series for you! 

Script: Giulia Bonacquisti 
Recording & Editing: Tanguy Babled & Hugh Evans 
Music: Garrett Bevins - Infinite - Infinite (Wondershare Filmora X) 

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