We’re back from a break and straight into tackling the geopolitical tensions that underlie a sudden ban on Ukraine’s grain exports by neighboring Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. We also discuss Ursula von der Leyen’s recent visit to Germany where she has been assured of the support of her Christian Democrat party, should she try for a second term as Commission president. And we hear from the EU’s first high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Catherine Ashton, as she looks back on the highs and the lows of her time in office.
A compromise has now been reached between Poland and Ukraine on the transit of grain through Poland and on to the Baltic Sea ports. Our host, Suzanne Lynch, is joined by POLITICO’s Senior Policy Editor for Energy & Environment, Jan Cienski, to explore how this stand-off has affected already frayed relations between Brussels and the Polish government and potentially undermined its close connection with Ukraine.
We are also joined by POLITICO’s Senior Politics Reporter in Germany, Hans von der Burchard, who dives into the tricky terrain of the spitzenkandidaten process — how it went wrong in the 2019 elections and whether it will help or hinder von der Leyen should she go for another term as Commission president.
Finally, we hear from Catherine Ashton, about her new book: “And then what?: Inside Stories of 21st Century Diplomacy.” She talks with Suzanne about negotiating the Iran nuclear deal, Russia’s war in Ukraine and proving her critics wrong.