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VIP is the number one podcast on Central Europe from Central Europe. Hosted by editors of the Visegrad Insight. We are the main platform of debate and analysis on Central Europe. Our media think tank generates future policy debates committed to liberal democrati principles and transatlantic partnership. Special focus on: democracy, democratic security, information sovereignty, green future, energy security, future of work, civil society leaders, digital economy, Visegrad Group, Eastern Partn ...
 
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Disagreement persists between China and Lithuania, as EU leaders scramble to come to Lithuania’s defence with a meaningful response. NGOs in Hungary fear impartial and unfair elections will take place on April 3 and call on the OSCE to send a full mission to the country. Visegrad Insight’s new Editorial Director—Miles R. Maftean—discusses the stren…
 
NATO and the US at the negotiation table across the Kremlin this week, with both sides seeking dialogue but reserving optimism for any potential breakthrough. Hungary continues to block ministerial-level talks between the North Atlantic Alliance and Kyiv over minority rights of ethnic Hungarians in southwestern Ukraine, while Prime Minister Viktor …
 
Enduring legacy of Czech Republic's first president Václav Havel commemorated on his 10 year death anniversary on Saturday as Czechia’s new foreign minister promises to revive the era of values-driven policy seen during Havel’s years. Meanwhile, Lithuania’s principled foreign policy approach is met with Chinese resistance consisting of diplomatic i…
 
Olaf Scholz picks Warsaw as the third European capital to visit in his new capacity as German Chancellor while French President Emmanuel Macron is in Budapest to sit-in on a meeting with PMs of the Visegrad countries. No representatives of the Belarus government at the upcoming EU's Eastern Partnership summit but democratic opposition leader Sviatl…
 
Special edition episode dedicated to the most recent protests against a potential lithium mine in Serbia delivered by Visegrad Insight’s Programme Manager Tetiana Poliak-Grujić. She talks to Marko Savković, Executive Director of Foundation BFPE for a Responsible Society from Belgrade who explains their background and potential effect, which can be …
 
Europe’s right-wing populist leaders convened in Warsaw ahead of Biden’s Summit for Democracy, vowing to pursue closer cooperation in the European Parliament but ultimately falling short of establishing a new, coherent political party. Russia’s military activities on border with Ukraine heightens threat perception in the West as Biden and Putin sch…
 
NATO and EU leaders tour the Baltics to address security challenges on the border with Belarus. Allies have expressed solidarity with Lithuania, Latvia and Poland ahead of the NATO foreign minister meeting in Riga. The crisis, however, remains far from over as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warns that people are still trying to enter the b…
 
Democratic opposition leader Sviatlana Tikhanouskaya is in Vienna ahead of the international conference on Belarus organised by Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg. European Commission sends letters to Hungary and Poland saying that problems with independence of the judiciary, failure to tackle corruption and a deficient public procurement s…
 
Poland, Lithuania and Latvia facing an intensified security and humanitarian crisis at the border with Belarus. Alyaksandr Lukashenka's hybrid tactic of smuggling migrants to the EU's external border is on top of the agenda at international forums like the UN Security Council, NATO and the EU. Poland and Lithuania are mulling the invocation of Arti…
 
Hungary is the only EU member (and second NATO ally, after Turkey) to be snubbed by US President Joseph Biden’s Summit for Democracy in December. Poland faces two hearings from the EU's legal bodies: a verdict from the European Court of Human Rights on the Extraordinary Audit Chamber of the Polish Supreme Court and the National Council of Judiciary…
 
Bulgarians will elect both the president and the parliament in less than two weeks. Incumbent President Rumen Radev’s chances of re-election remain favorable while opinion polls show that the new and small centrist party (‘We Continue the Change’) led by the ministers of economy and finance from the caretaker government is the second most popular b…
 
Non-EU countries especially vulnerable to Gazprom’s policies of cutting gas supply to Europe. Moldova, under severe strain to make it through a cold winter, has introduced a 30-day state of emergency to allow purchase of gas through alternative means. Initially failing to secure a long-term contract with the Russian gas giant (unlike Hungary), two …
 
Latest on the Council of Europe as Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki presents Poland’s position on the controversial rule of law ruling by its constitutional court to the European Parliament. The EU’s top court has also begun the long-awaited hearings on the bloc’s rule of law mechanism - a clause Warsaw and Budapest are expected to contest …
 
In Czechia SPOLU beats Andrej Babis’s ANO with a slight majority of the votes, but President Miloš Zeman will likely grant the right to form a government to the biggest single party which is ANO. Situation is complicated by a deterioration in the 77-year-old Zeman’s health, currently left in intensive care. Budapest liberal mayor Gergely Karácsony …
 
Cross-border investigation of one of the biggest leaks of financial documents, the Pandora Papers, has exposed the tax haven secrecy and tax avoidance of world leaders from Moscow to Amman. Perhaps with little surprise Czech PM Andrej Babiš made the shortlist of the high-net-worth individuals implicated. This comes just days before crucial election…
 
Conference in Budapest gathers a global alliance of notable conservatives while opinion polls in the V4 indicate a positive outlook for Visegrad cooperation despite nationalist strategies of ruling parties that deviate from the original ethos of the format. France stirs up discussion on European strategic autonomy after recent submarine row with US…
 
Polish political scene hits a plateau as opinion polls indicate a stalemate in terms of support for the government versus the opposition. Bulgaria heads into third parliamentary elections this year with its electoral cycle in limbo. Czech President Miloš Zeman remains hospitalized which means the fate of Andrej Babiš being re-elected Prime Minister…
 
CEE returns to school with some of the slowest vaccine rollouts among EU countries. Elections In Poland are postponed this year due to a declared state of emergency, but the political scene remains far from stable. The Polish government is likely to use the crisis on the border with Belarus to improve chances of survival while President Andrzej Dud…
 
Yesterday Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelensky met in Washington, the first visit of Ukraine’s president’s to DC in 4 years. Ukraine’s concerns over Nord Stream 2 were one of the topics on the agenda. In today’s podcast episode, we asked Wojciech Jakóbik, energy analyst and editor-in-chief of Biznes Alert, about gas shortages, GAZPROM’s record earnings…
 
In this week's episode, we summarise the highlights and the downfalls of Central and Eastern European politics from the past week. Topics include: Crimea Platform, vaccination rates in the V4, Janez Jansa's peculiar foreign policy comments, Babis-Zeman row over Russia-friendly advisor, Poland media law, & more. Tune in to stay in the CEE-know.…
 
The severe situation in Afghanistan has been the focal point of global media and public opinion throughout the last week. Meanwhile politicians in Central Europe are going about their business as usual. In this episode, Wojciech Przybylski and Marysia Ciupka summarise the so-far response of the CEE states toward the crisis in Afghanistan, talk abou…
 
What has been achieved by the Belarusian democratic opposition in the past year, following the fraudulent presidential election in August 2020? What has changed and what changes are yet to happen? Is Lukashenka losing his confidence and what’s happening on the Belarus-Lithuania border? In this week’s episode, we speak with Hanna Liubakova, Belarusi…
 
Central and Eastern Europe can now boast a number of bingeworthy TV series of all kinds and genres. In this episode, we speak with Dawid Krawczyk, a Polish reporter and a writer, and privately - an avid fan of good TV with appreciation for the local industry. So if you are in the mood to watch a TV show on a warm night of August that takes place ag…
 
CEE states have a rich and interesting history of participating in the Olympic Games. In this episode, we discuss major CEE-Tokyo Olympics controversies, try to establish which disciplines Central Europeans have historically excelled at, and ask Kuba Kazula, a sports journalist from newonce.sport, which CEE athletes to follow at Tokyo Games this ye…
 
In his new op-ed, Vladimir Putin once again undermines Ukrainian independence and sends strong revisionist signals. This adds up to the tension that has built up since Russia's new National Security Strategy published a peculiar document written in a militaristic and revisionist language only two weeks after the Biden-Putin summit in Switzerland. I…
 
Editors of Visegrad Insight Kamil Jarończyk and Wojciech Przybylski talk about the Three Seas Initiative and present key findings of their new scenario-based report 'Towards 3SI Civil Society Forum' while this week Bulgaria hosts the 3Seas Initiative summit (8-9 July 2021). Fellows, Asya Metodyeva and Maliek Banat talk about terrorism online in Cen…
 
On 1 July 2021 Slovenia takes over the EU presidency from Portugal and Hungary takes over the V4 presidency from Poland. This special episode features three guest speakers: Karolina Zbytniewska, editor-in-chief Euractiv Poland, Márton Ugrósdy, director of the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade in Budapest, and Marko Milosavljević, professor at…
 
In this week’s episode, we discuss the Putin-Biden summit with Steven Erlanger, chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe for The New York Times. Also in this episode: Germany and France’s idea to ‘reset’ EU-Russia relations, V4 finance ministers’ meeting and their approach toward G7 tax on multinational companies, as well as continuing tensions aro…
 
While most of the eyes are on the Biden-Putin meeting and other festive gatherings like the Globsec Forum this week, Hungary introduces legislation, allegedly trying to protect children, that will target the country’s LGBT+ community. In this episode, we speak with Márta Pardavi, co-chair of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, who explains the politi…
 
The President of the United States' first visit abroad since taking office will consist of a number of high-profile meetings with the G7, NATO and European allies to strengthen the Transatlantic alliance. Meanwhile, a direct encounter with Russian President Vladimir Putin on 16 June next week is likely to deliver a stern warning to Russia about its…
 
Europe is keen to leave years of turbulence in the Transatlantic relationship behind, as US President Joe Biden is set to visit the continent later this month. With a number of important elections in France and Germany and the Conference on the Future of Europe in the next few years, what are the prospects for rebuilding the democratic alliance and…
 
With Belavia airplanes forced to return and European airlines avoiding the Belarusian airspace, the first implications of Alyaksandr Lukashenka's air piracy are immediately clear. While the fate of Roman Protasevich remains unclear, there has been a clear voice from the EU and Transatlantic unity on this grievous matter. Yet, it remains to be seen …
 
Earlier this month, the leaders of nine countries from Central and Eastern Europe met during the Bucharest Nine virtual summit. They were also joined by NATO's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg as well as United States President Joe Biden. With an increasingly palpable number of regional groupings to discuss shared interests, what makes the Buchar…
 
The Conference on the Future of Europe that commenced earlier this month brings the question of Central Europe's contribution to European integration back to the forefront. How much of the spirit of 1989 remains in the face of democratic backsliding, authoritarian tendencies and economic unsettlement? We discuss recent Bucharest nine meeting with f…
 
Once a year, the European University Institute in Florence brings together high-level EU representatives and leading thinkers to reflect on the critical challenges for the Union in the upcoming years. With attention increasingly focused on the Conference of the Future of Europe, a bottom-up perspective should also be taken into account as part of t…
 
The Polish Constitutional Court recently ruled in a controversial judgement that Human Rights Ombudsperson Adam Bodnar should be removed from his position after the expiry of his five-year term. In the absence of a chosen successor, Bodnar has continued his work supporting and intervening on behalf of Polish citizens as stipulated by the Polish Con…
 
V4 governments quickly put out a joint statement in support of Czechia's expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats following an intelligence services investigation into Russian spy involvement in an ammunition warehouse blast in 2014. While the statement was communicated quickly after the news broke, coordinating a common V4 position on other aspects conce…
 
The political situation in Ukraine is slowly reaching a boiling point due to stalled reforms, the continued Russian threat in Donbas and sensitive issues such as Nord Stream 2 and Black Sea connectivity. How comfortable is President Volodymyr Zelenskyi in his seat after his resounding victory in 2019? We discuss the latest domestic developments as …
 
With the latest news that Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov will not take a seat in the next parliament and is prepared to put another name forward as designate to form the next cabinet, the recent elections have thrown Bulgarian politics into disarray. While the ruling party GERB came first in the vote it fell short of a resounding victory an…
 
In the week before Easter, there was little sign of Central European politics slowing down before the holiday period. In Slovakia, the resignation of Prime Minister Igor Matovič caused a brief moment of relief, even though the former head of government will remain an important and divisive voice as Minister of Finance in the reshuffled cabinet. The…
 
Although it is hard to predict what the future holds, it is certain that new sectors will be created, existing industries will be disrupted and professions transformed. Magda Jakubowska from Res Publica Foundation, Weronika Kuna, Government Affairs Lead at Microsoft (Poland), and Daniel Szemerey, Director and Co-Founder of Health Venture Lab (Hunga…
 
Political instability is not limited to Europe’s immediate neighbourhood and also keeps the political scene preoccupied within the European Union. Whether it is a crisis over vaccine purchases in Slovakia and Czechia. the prospect of new lockdown measures in Poland or tense weeks before elections in Bulgaria, these events often have repercussions e…
 
This week, fast-developing events in Central Europe appear to overtake the pace of opinion and analyses. While every day brings new revelations concerning PKN Orlen CEO and Kaczyński-protégé Daniel Obtajtek in Poland, the Slovak coalition government led by Igor Matovič appears to have reached a dead-end following the prime minister's brash decision…
 
With judicial cooperation in the European Union on the verge of a breakdown because of continuing doubts about Poland's judicial system and a recent government-led takeover of local and regional media, many are expecting the European institutions to step in and put a stop to democratic backsliding and threats to the rule of law. Whether it is the E…
 
Being adaptable and flexible is the cornerstone of human development. Though each of us is born with a certain skill set and associated prospects, the nurture of these skills is a never-ending process, if we want to develop and utilise them in practical settings. In order to be successful, companies need to modernise and adapt, too, as well as seek…
 
The ongoing rule of law debacle in Poland and Hungary and the case of a whistleblower in Romania are only signals of a wide-spread problem of coercive clientelism and corruption that beset Central Europe. So-called judicial reforms or changes to media pluralism undermine checks and balances rather than strengthening the democratic institutions of t…
 
The words of US President Joe Biden at the Munich Security Conference last week suggest the Trump years of transactionalism and cosying up to autocrats are over. Whether it concerns energy or human rights, the US is demanding a clearer stance by Central and Eastern Europe vis-à-vis Russia. This may have an impact on Nord Stream 2 but also the EU's …
 
Earlier this week, the signing of the Visegrad Declaration in 1991 was commemorated as an important moment and stepping stone for Central Europe in its pathway to European integration. European Council President Charles Michel joined the four leaders in Kraków for a discussion to map out the future of the V4. But what achievements can the Visegrad …
 
During and after his visit to Moscow, Josip Borrell was heavily criticised by MEPs and national governments for the ill-timed diplomatic encounter with Sergey Lavrov after a severe crackdown of the Russian authorities on protests in support of Alexei Navalny. What signal did it send to the neighbouring countries of the Eastern Partnership? We speak…
 
Fluctuating levels of the pandemic-related governmental restrictions resulting in the unpredictability of the markets and economies have been one of the largest issues facing businesses in CEE. At the New Europe 100 Forum in October 2020 Martin Ehl, Chief Analyst, Hospodářské noviny (Czechia), Martyna Trykozko, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, 300Gospodarka…
 
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