Thursday

28th Jan 2021

Podcast

Standing up to bullies with Frans Timmermans

  • Timmermans starts off his first podcast interview with how songwriters from Jacques Brel to Bruce Springsteen have been a source of solace and inspiration for him (Photo: Helena Malikova)

Standing up to bullies was ingrained in Frans Timmermans from his schooldays.

The Dutchman came to prominence six years ago as his country's foreign minister with an emotional speech at the United Nations. Russian-backed separatists had shot down Flight MH17 packed with Dutch nationals, and Timmermans channelled the sentiments of a shocked nation to the world.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

In his next job as first vice president of the European Commission, he squared off with right-wing populists like the UK's Nigel Farage and with autocratically minded leaders in Hungary and Poland.

Last year Timmermans, a member of the Dutch Labour Party, led a passionate and energetic campaign to become the president of the Commission.

And for a week it seemed he would be appointed.

But his tenaciousness had stirred too much bad blood with Budapest and Warsaw, and that opened the way for conservatives to coalesce around a Christian Democrat alternative, Ursula von der Leyen.

Timmermans took a role overseeing the European Green Deal as one of the Commission's three executive vice presidents.

To succeed he needs to stand up to governments and vested interests rushing to reboot economies crashed by the coronavirus.

That means ensuring the trillions of euros that the EU and its member states spend transform rather than entrench polluting industries and infrastructure.

Timmermans starts off his first podcast interview with how songwriters from Jacques Brel to Bruce Springsteen have been a source of solace and inspiration for him.

Author bio

EU Scream is the progressive politics podcast from Brussels. Produced by James Kanter with graphics by Helena Malikova and music by Lara Natale.

You may also subscribe via iTunes, Spotify or from the EU Scream website.

Timmermans: EU climate law will 'discipline' rogue states

The first EU-wide climate law will be a "disciplining" exercise to implement the Green Deal - although the Polish climate minister Michal Kurtyka warned the EU Commission about the social cost of delivering the green transition.

Timmermans urges EU governments to tax carbon

The EU commissioner for the Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said on Thursday that member states have a responsibility to implement taxes on carbon to show that emissions have a cost.

Data and Dystopia

Despite concerns about civil liberties and activities of companies like Clearview AI and Palantir, EU authorities are shaping a new industrial policy around artificial intelligence.

Ylva Johansson on Migration and Drama Queens

Commissioner for home affairs, Ylva Johansson, would like to win the approval of all EU member states for a new proposal for a common asylum and migration policy - something her predecessors failed to do.

Citizen deliberation in light of an insurrection

Can the EU do more to hold back the kinds of malign forces that overran the US Capitol? It's not an idle question. Democratic shortcomings in the EU are regularly invoked by the far-right to whip up nationalist sentiment.

Honesty is the best policy

Politicians mostly talk about shutting migrants out. That endangers migrants' lives and obscures an important truth: that Europe already relies on large numbers of migrants for farming and manufacturing.

Showdowns over the rule of law

Brussels is increasingly expected to serve as the European Union's sheriff on rule of law - but its ability to enforce adherence to democratic norms and values remains weak.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. Frontex suspends operations in Hungary
  2. Cyprus: a heavy caseload for new EU prosecutors office
  3. MEPs: Portugal 'risks undermining' trust in EU prosecutor
  4. EU to control vaccine exports in row over delays
  5. On Biden's China policy
  6. Eastern Europe wakes up with Trump hangover
  7. Why is Germany rushing a new Bosnia high representative?
  8. Giuseppe Conte: scapegoat or Italy's most cunning politician?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us