EU Confidential #187, presented by Equinor: Borrell Russia rumpus — Macron’s rivals — Lithuania’s foreign minister

EU-Russia tensions and a first look at next year’s French presidential race are on the menu this week.

We debate EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell’s controversial trip to Moscow and hear from the foreign minister of a country that knows first-hand about Russian influence, Lithuania’s Gabrielius Landsbergis.

Borrell is under fire for standing by as Russian’s foreign minister called the EU an “unreliable partner.” POLITICO’s Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz and Matthew Karnitschnig debate how damaging the trip was for Borrell’s reputation, as well as the EU’s credibility when it comes to foreign affairs. And is anyone buying Borrell’s defense that he was just doing his job?

And the author of POLITICO’s new Playbook Paris, Pauline de Saint Remy, joins the panel to give us a primer on who might stop Emmanuel Macron winning a second term next year. Do subscribe to Pauline’s Playbook, if you haven’t already, s’il vous plaît.

Our special guest is Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis. While he’s only been in the job since December, his life has been steeped in politics as the grandson of his country’s first post-Soviet head of state, Vytautas Landsbergis. He’s also a former member of the European Parliament. Landsbergis ventured into some of the hottest international topics with our own Rym Momtaz, including relations with Russia, China and the United States, as well as vaccine geopolitics.

The panel returns at the end of the podcast with recommendations to keep you occupied during whatever form of lockdown you may be experiencing. Rym flags this book, which is very much in keeping with the geopolitical theme of this episode. Matt offers up a documentary about the making of a WWII film classic. And Andrew says this multi-part documentary podcast about the disinformation war around the White Helmets rescue organization in Syria is well worth your time.



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