POLITICO's EU Confidential

Ep 185, presented by BP: Europe's vaccine blame game — Brussels bubble struggles

Episode Summary

We break down the EU's vaccine struggles — what's gone wrong, what went right, what the repercussions are, and who's responsible. We also dive deeper into a documentary about the people working the "Brussels bubble" and what it takes to thrive personally and professionally in the EU quarter.

Episode Notes

POLITICO's Chief Policy Correspondent Sarah Wheaton joins Andrew Gray, Rym Momtaz and Matthew Karnitschnig to talk through an in-depth story she co-authored with health reporter Jillian Deutsch on the EU's race to procure coronavirus vaccines.

The news that the EU won't be receiving nearly as many doses as expected in the early months of this year has triggered a furious blame game between Brussels, EU capitals and drugmaker AstraZeneca. As Sarah explains, much of the debate revolves around whether the EU's insistence on solidarity — negotiating with pharmaceutical companies on behalf of all 27 countries — ultimately hindered its ability to secure vaccines quickly enough.

Our special guest is filmmaker Nadine van Loon. We explore the themes in her forthcoming documentary, "Notes from Brussels," which follows the lives of three women working in the EU quarter. Van Loon's personal story — having previously worked in the Brussels bubble but now observing it from the outside — gives her a valuable double-perspective on what it takes to thrive personally and professionally in what can feel like an all-consuming environment.

The podcast panel returns with recommendations to help you get through lockdown. Andrew kicks off with a French Netflix thriller. Rym offers up an EU documentary where you'll also see some familiar POLITICO faces. Sarah longs for the days of in-person theater but promises this virtual comedic endeavor to be worthwhile in the meantime. And Matt recommends this thought-proving film, in keeping with this week's remembrance of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.