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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Macron’s US stance — Western Balkans summit — Dark EU lobbying

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This week: The EU’s place in the world — and the Western Balkans’ place in the EU. And we dive deep into the murky world EU lobbying.

POLITICO’s David M. Herszenhorn and Lili Bayer join Andrew Gray from Slovenia, where EU leaders met for a dinner discussion about the bloc’s role on the international stage and held a summit with their Western Balkan counterparts.

David talks us through what French President Emmanuel Macron told him about whether France and the United States can patch things up after a big blow-up over a scuppered submarine deal.

Lili and David also discuss the divisions within the EU over letting Western Balkan countries into the club and the region’s frustrations with the bloc.

And Lili outlines a recent in-depth story she and POLITICO’s Zosia Wanat published about concerns that the EU’s enlargement commissioner, Olivér Várhelyi of Hungary, has been favoring Serbia’s EU bid and playing down democracy concerns, according to officials and internal documents.

Then we turn things over to our Chief Technology Correspondent Mark Scott, who brings us up to speed on his series of investigations into European politics news sites that promoted the interests of governments, companies and wealthy individuals without disclosing connections to them.

The first story looks at Brussels news outlet EU Reporter and its blend of reporting and political advocacy, where it’s often been impossible for readers to tell which is which.

The second examines EU Reporter’s relationship with Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant.

And the most recent article examines the wider web of individuals within the Brussels Bubble who blur the lines between journalism and pushing the agendas of commercial clients.

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