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POLITICO's EU Confidential

263 EpisodesProduced by POLITICO EuropeWebsite

From Brussels and around the Continent — the top European politics podcast.


Episode 16: Telia's Johan Dennelind — Global Policy Lab — Catalan independence referendum

Host Ryan Heath talks to POLITICO's chief Europe correspondent Matthew Karnitschnig about a homegrown journalism experiment: POLITICO's first Global Policy Lab. We convened labor and economics experts, executives and union representatives, along with regular POLITICO readers, to develop stories about how Europe can engineer growth, and in particular to develop real policy prescriptions for how Germany's old world manufacturing base could survive the country's demographic crisis.

Robots to the rescue: Germany is using robots to beat back its demographic crisis of an aging population and to keep its manufacturing competitive. For all the value delivered by robots Matthew Karnitschnig told us that "You can't just rely on robots. There really is going to be no way around dealing with the problem without more immigration." To maintain Germany's current workforce average net migration levels would need to 400,000 per year.

Telecoms connects all, so must support all: Telia CEO Johan Dennelind rejects the idea of telecoms as a "siloed industry" that exists in its own corner of the economy. He says telecoms is a platform that connects everyone, so he has both business and social obligation to commit to projects like the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

No charity here: From helping to deliver corruption-free markets to better health outcomes for women, Dennelind says delivering on social goals is part of Telia's annual reporting and "part of our core business. This is good for us and our shareholders."

Sweden's Stockholm second only to Silicon Valley in start-up race: Dennelind says Sweden's success "comes on the back of an ecosystem in Stockholm that is fantastic," which is due to Sweden's political framework, skills base, local attitudes and good capital funding.

No need for Macron's proposed EU agency for disruptive innovation: "I don't think it's needed. What is needed is to let loose the forces that are out there," in terms of skills and capital. Dennelind added "Creating separate innovation boxes is not the overarching answer, with all respect" to President Macron.

The Merkel / Macron elevator pitch: "Do you understand the potential of digitalization, do you understand Europe can fall behind, but also lead the way? If you understand that which I believe you do: create the conditions, set the framework right, just do it," based on the Commission's proposed new telecoms code which national governments have attempted to water down.

How to regulate right: Dennelind's advice to EU regulators is apply a principle of "Same service, same rules. Don't regulate technology: regulate services and behaviors. Don't regulate in advance: regulate problems"

"We risk entering into a phase where we don't get things done in Europe": Dennelind thinks both sides have a special obligation to be constructive given the complicated telecoms landscape of more than 120 companies in Europe, compared to just a handful in the United States and China.

EU WTF moment of the week is Catalonia: Our panelists Ailbhe Finn and Lina Aburous express a shared sadness at how Sunday's independence vote in Catalonia was handled. They question what instructions were given to police in Barcelona, discuss threat to the EU's credibility as a defender of citizens' fundamental rights, look at why finding an external mediator to bring the two sides together will be difficult.

Dear POLITICO discusses Brit-bashing over Brexit in Brussels: Our panel says individual Britons can't be blamed for the decisions of a whole population and its government, and shouldn't be subject to rudeness of discrimination as a result of Brexit. They advised a listener that as a Briton in Brussels he is subject now to behavior that wouldn't be acceptable if directed at him as a member of a minority group.

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