Busting the new political jargon – POLITICO

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The best of POLITICO’s coverage selected by Deputy Editor-in-Chief Kate Day.

EU Confidential

By KATE DAY

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Dear readers,

There’s nothing like returning from a couple of weeks away only to discover you no longer even understand the political lexicon. 

I arrived back after a wonderful couple of weeks in my husband’s native Cyprus — where I mostly focused on preventing my toddlers somersaulting into swimming pools — to headlines about RAAC, a particularly dangerous, bubbly form of concrete currently closing U.K. schools in the latest crisis to hit Rishi Sunak’s beleaguered government. 

It was striking how quickly “RAAC” crept into the collective political consciousness, with experts rattling it off on telly as though everyone knew their C20 from their C15. (Yes, I really did Google types of concrete and theconcretenetwork.co.uk is surprisingly enlightening.) 

I hope we resist the temptation to casually slide into this kind of journalese. A commitment to clarity, to slicing through the jargon, has been one of POLITICO’s animating ideas since our inception in Washington in 2007. We seek to explain what’s really going on, to puncture the received wisdom and explain the world of insiders to interested outsiders. And we know we can rely on you, dear readers, to let us know if we ever fall short. It’s not always so easy in Brussels. 

I’m sure the next few months will bring a whole tapestry of new buzzwords as so many across the Continent gear up for elections in the coming year. Enjoy them and roll your eyes in equal measure. 

Wishing you all a restful weekend and a smooth transition back to a new term. Below, to ease you in, is a selection of some of our highlights.

All the best,

Kate

**Let’s explore how hydrogen could be the game-changer in Europe’s shift from fossil fuels. Join Gabriel Gavin, our energy reporter , on September 18 at POLITICO Live’s event “Is Europe losing the hydrogen race?” to find out more. Save your seat!**

EDITOR’S CHOICE

What being thrown out of Russia taught me about the Kremlin’s war on the media

This is a moving account of the experience of Western journalists in Russia since Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion started in Ukraine, with a very personal perspective and also broader analysis. Western reporters are not harassed as much as their Russian colleagues but the pressure is enormous. Read the story.

Doubts over Catalan as EU language create a headache for Spain’s Sánchez

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez needs Catalan support to stay in power and we did a great job of showing why he might have overpromised to them. Spain’s pledge to get Catalan listed as an official EU language looks unlikely to go anywhere quickly enough for Sánchez. Read the story.

EU split over post-Brexit electric car tariffs gives Britain hope

Reporting from both London and Brussels put us well ahead of our competition on the vital issue of how the EU is divided about whether to enter into a post-Brexit tariff war with the U.K. over electric vehicles. Read the story.

‘Europe’s got a problem’ — Drug violence grips Belgium’s second city

Our reporting about the Belgian narcotics crisis continued with this deeply reported story on how drug violence is escalating and difficult for any one national government to handle. Read the story.

EU plays for time on plans to use Russian frozen assets to rebuild Ukraine

An excellent scoop about a confidential discussion paper on the European Commission’s approach to using frozen Russian assets to help finance Ukraine reconstruction. We were able to immediately put the information into context and read between the lines about the document’s true intent: the Commission was playing for time. Read the story.

media


Your car wants to know about your sex life

Not, perhaps, a headline you’d expect on a story about data but a fascinating account of the kind of policy question that will dominate all aspects of life for years to come. Read the story.

Experienced trippers should advise on Europe’s use of psychedelics, says lobby

We got our hands on a letter from the psychedelics lobby to Europe’s medicines regulator and pulled out this scoopy nugget. While advisory groups containing experienced people are the norm in Brussels, the call for “psychedelic organizations” to help advise the EU on the way forward, gives a taste of some of the complexity that will surround the medical mainstreaming of psychedelic drugs. Read the story.

Most EU countries oppose Polish-led calls to keep Ukraine grain curbs

This agenda-setting scoop revealed that Poland and other eastern EU member countries are isolated in demanding an extension to import curbs on Ukrainian grain that has flooded their markets. With Poland’s election campaign entering the closing stretch, this row is likely to escalate. Read the story.

YOUR WEEKEND PLAYLIST

EU Confidential: It’s back to school in Brussels — Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani

Host Suzanne Lynch is joined by POLITICO’s Sarah Wheaton and Nick Vinocur to discuss big European issues and events to watch out for in coming weeks. And there are many: the State of the Union Address by President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, the race to get the top job at the European Investment Bank, elections in 2024, migration, and, of course, enlargement of the EU bloc. Then, we get the perspective from a leader of one the countries on the path to join the EU — Kosovo. We hear from its president, Vjosa Osmani, who unpacks the challenges Kosovo is facing, including tensions with neighboring Serbia, enlargement fatigue and inertia on the side of Brussels. Finally, we welcome our new Senior Audio Producer Dionisios Sturis, who is joining the EU Confidential team. Listen to the episode.

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Westminster Insider: What ex-prime ministers do next

In the week we marked the first anniversary of Liz Truss taking office — and Boris Johnson leaving Downing Street — host Aggie Chambre explores what former prime ministers do next with their lives. Former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, fired by Truss 38 days into her 45-day premiership, talks of the “emptiness” and “numbness” that comes with leaving Downing Street and how he felt “let down” by his old friend. Speaking agency founder Jeremy Lee, recently retired, is gloriously indiscreet as he regales Aggie with stories of his conversations with ex-prime ministers seeking riches down the years. Political biographer Anthony Seldon takes Aggie through the history of former prime ministers and how the role has changed since Winston Churchill’s Champagne-fueled heyday. UnHerd journalist Tom McTague explores Tony Blair’s increasingly powerful Institute for Global Change, while POLITICO’s Annabelle Dickson tells tales of tracking down Boris Johnson in downtown Dallas. Listen to the episode.

**POLITICO Power Play, our brand-new global podcast, brings you insightful conversations with global power players, hosted by award-winning journalist Anne McElvoy. Don’t miss an episode of our season in September by subscribing for alerts in one click.**

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DECLASSIFIED

Spare a thought for Europe’s most under-threat groups. And no, Putin’s enemies aren’t among them. Declassified is back after a summer break and has more.

Caption competition

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I just wanted to say you’re doing great work here at the Coming Up With Fun Ways To Kill My Enemies Test Center.”

 Can you do better? Email [email protected] or on Twitter @pdallisonesque

Last week we gave you this photo:

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 Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag — there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze.

… And she said ‘maybe Manfred Weber can be our Spitzenkandidat again?’” by Tom Morgan.

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