Ukraine on EU membership path ⁠— Balkan backlash — Albanian PM

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Coming to you from the EU leaders’ summit in the heart of Brussels, we discuss Ukraine’s candidacy to join the club and the lack of progress for EU-hopefuls in the Western Balkans. We hear from Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Florence Gaub, foresight adviser to the Council of the European Union.

This week’s episode, hosted by POLITICO’s David M. Herszenhorn, comes to you from the European Council where the EU’s 27 heads of state and government decided to designate Ukraine and Moldova as candidates for EU membership.

POLITICO’s Lili Bayer, Giorgio Leali and Hans von der Burchard join David to unpack how the decision was made and where the discussion on EU accession goes from here. Giorgio also explains how French President Emmanuel Macron’s gravitas around the Council table may have been diminished by his centrist alliance’s disappointing showing in parliamentary elections last weekend. We also discuss how the French president’s idea for a “European political community” is being received.

Then, you’ll hear from Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. He spoke to POLITICO’s Louise Guillot in Tirana last week — sharing his downbeat view on why Albania’s prospects for starting EU membership talks have stalled.

After the break, we feature NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He sat down with Lili Bayer on Wednesday for a POLITICO Live event, which you can watch here.

And POLITICO’s Matt Karnitschnig brings us a discussion with Florence Gaub, foresight adviser to the Council of the European Union. They discuss the war in Ukraine, how long it could last and what we can expect from NATO’s historic meeting next week in Madrid.

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