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POLITICO's EU Confidential

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


Episode 27, presented by Raytheon : 2017 review & NATO’s Jamie Shea

Episode 27 of POLITICO's EU Confidential podcast features a review of the year from POLITICO reporters and an interview with NATO's Deputy Assistant Secretary General Jamie Shea, a Brussels veteran of almost 40 years.

With regular host Ryan Heath on holiday, news editor Andrew Gray talks to Shea about the alliance's future challenges, the EU's new defense pact and his role as frontman when NATO went to war for the first time, over Kosovo in 1999.

Looking back: POLITICO policy reporters pick out the biggest stories on their beats this year and tell us why they matter. A couple of big names crop up — and one isn't even European. From tech to trade, and from fisheries to the environment, our journalists have everything you need to impress friends and family with your policy knowledge over the holidays.

Looking forward: Jamie Shea is NATO's deputy assistant secretary general for emerging security challenges. In an interview in his office at the alliance's headquarters, he talks about those challenges in detail — Russia and Ukraine in the east, instability to the south and the tests for NATO countries posed by hybrid warfare, in which an adversary can destabilize a society through cyberattacks, fake news and other nonconventional means.

Wartime spokesman: Shea recalls his time as NATO spokesman during the Kosovo war, when the alliance found itself in the spotlight as never before. "The day before we announced the beginning of the air campaign, there were five journalists downstairs in the press area ... the next day, 450. The media in fact mobilized as fast as the NATO military, if not faster," Shea remembers.

EU on defense: NATO officially welcomes the EU's push into the military arena, with the launch of its PESCO pact at last week's European Council. But Shea also outlines the challenges for countries who are now members of two military alliances. "One of the key things is that we have similar capability requirements because if we have one set of EU requirements that says the priority is helicopters and NATO's saying no ... the priority is transport aircraft, your poor defense minister is there thinking: 'well, what is it?'"

Bygone Brussels: Shea moved to the Belgian capital in 1980 and reflects on how NATO, the EU and Brussels have changed during that time. "The success of NATO was boredom in a funny kind of way," he says of the Cold War. "You didn't want anything to happen because the only happening scenario would have been a confrontation."

Season's greetings: The podcast takes a holiday break next week but will be back in the first week of January. In the meantime, for your festive travels and downtime, our complete back catalog is available on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud and many other podcast platforms. Thanks to all our listeners in 2017!

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