A road trip across Europe: meeting the Eurosceptics

Alia Fakhry, translated by Malinka Mary
15 Décembre 2014

After the elections last May, the Eurosceptic parties won almost 25 % of the European Parliament’s seats. A paradox that says a lot about the condition of Europe today, weakened by the crisis and the rise of nationalism. Who is to blame? A young team of journalists trying to answer this question decided to go on a road trip.

Crédit DR
Crédit DR
The rise of anti-European sentiment represents today a reality fixed in every mind. No need to remind you of the scores obtained by radical right movements in France, The Netherlands, or Hungary, and of the rise of regionalism in North Italy or in Catalonia, and of the Greek anger or even the ghost of the “Brexit” referendum that could lead to the exit of The United Kingdom from Europe in 2017. 

What is to blame? Crisis is the word on everyone’s lips, but so also is German austerity, European technocracy, the rise of nationalism and xenophobia. In other words, fear. Fear in every way: economic uncertainty, fear of the other, loss of hope in the future and its promises. Is the Europe “machine” having trouble?

A road trip to Europe

Just like Florence Aubenas, famous reporter for French magazine “Le monde” who recently went for an investigation “En France”, where she relates her journey from city to village, looking for the fears and hopes of the population, a team of young German journalists set up a large-scale project.

“Génération Séparation” is a multimedia concept including picture, video and text, brought together online, including the now essential social networks ( Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram). A project that totally corresponds to its “generation”, with the goal to try and realize its “separation”. The idea is simple and ambitious. Eighteen reporters, divided into teams spread across Europe, from Barcelona to Riga, passing by Nicosia and London, follow anti-European movements, local politics and common citizens, in an attempt to understand the ambient unease. 

While the media today tends to blame these populists, nationalists or Independence movements, this young team decided to take another approach to the question. Ignoring them and trying to forget them does not help here. Worse, this blindness from the media makes things easier for them. And, according to a Moorish proverb: “he who does not travel does not know the value of men”.

Meeting the other face of Europe

The concept of “Génération Séparation” is very innovative. Even if the role of social networks is emphasized, since they do not only relay and broadcast the investigation but also create a true interaction with the public, the heart of the project is the fieldwork. This reminds us that if the press and media are facing difficult times, it does not mean that investigative journalism should be condemned. Even though the theme is highly political, the team decided to leave behind conceptual debates and political quarrels to focus on those who are the real stakeholders of the European concept across the continent.

Around a lunch with Catalan separatists, playing soccer with the young brother of the Basque Xabi Alonso, during a meeting with the supervisor of “Jeunes FN” or with a Serbian-Croatian rock band, they will to try measure the scope of Europe today. If the Erasmus generation is often shown as an example of the accomplishments of the European construction, then the "Génération Séparation"  is still a big stranger. 

A road-trip through Europe to follow live and in English from November 26th on “Génération Séparation” but also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the #hashtag. Stay tuned!