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Brussels, my love: EU enlargement to the Western Balkans and the US Inflation Reduction Act 

The Euronews Brussels bureau brings you its sixth episode of a new talk show that aims to break down European news and politics to make it more accessible to viewers. 

The show featured panellists Thomas Waitz, the Green MEP and farmer from Austria, Georg Riekeles, an associate director at the European Policy Centre and Tinatin Akhvlediani, a research fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies.

This episode, hosted by Euronews’ European affairs correspondent Méabh Mc Mahon, touched on topics like EU enlargement and the latest trade tensions between the European Union and the United States. 

Watch the video above to see our newest Euronews talk show Brussels, my love?

Western Balkans: in or out?

As EU leaders gathered in Tirana this week, Euronews’ reporters asked local Albanians if they even wanted to join the European Union. The majority said yes, and that it should have happened a long time ago.

Speaking on “Brussels, my love,” Georg Riekeles said that there was nothing worse than promises broken, but that “promises go both ways”. He believes enlargement is key but it will require promises to be held on both sides and deeper reforms to be carried out by the European Union. 

Panellists commented on a recent interview that Euronews did with the EU Commissioner for enlargement Oliver Várhelyi who was very critical of the previous Commission’s lack of enlargement policy.

“We have done everything, first of all, to drag enlargement out of the ditch which the previous Commission left it in. Second, to bring it back to the top of the political agenda,” the Commissioner said.

“And third, to focus not only on the institutional Brussels bubble (…) but to talk about the real issue. And the real issue is the real integration on the ground. So when can these countries catch up in terms of social and economic development with Europe? When can the people of these countries enjoy the same level of access to European markets?,” he said.

Inflation Reduction Act

Panellists also discussed the new US Inflation Reduction Act. They welcomed it calling it the American version of the EU Green Deal but concern was expressed about its ‘buy American’ protectionist approach.

“We are going to be facing in Europe a very difficult situation where essentially when it comes, for instance, down to investment for key future sectors, a business leader has the choice whether he wants to spend 400 million in Europe or 150 million as a cost for the same plant in the US when you count in the subsidies,” Georg Riekeles said. 

Tinatin Akhvlediani, meanwhile, said that “there is also China in the picture”

“Indeed joining the efforts to counteract China’s threats is definitely the only probably winning strategy here for both EU and the US,” she said.

Source : Euro News