A small but enthusiastic crowd gathered at the local cinema in Manciano, in southern Tuscany, to watch The Great European Disaster Movie and have a debate on the themes raised by the film.

According to the organiser Richard Harris: “The discussion was excellent, in part because of the quality of the speakers but also because the public enjoyed and appreciated the film and were keen to participate.”

Asked a series of question about their relationship with Europe by show of hand the majority of the audience declared themselves ‘optimistic’ about the future of Europe. They were also overwhelmingly of the opinion that the European project should be saved and most among those present said they ‘felt European’.

Panellist Fabrizio Boldrini, who is responsible for the management of the immigrants when they first arrive in this area gave his assessment about what it feels to be at the sharp end of the refugee and immigrant crisis but was also critical of the manipulation of this crisis by some politicians for populist reasons. This is not a problem confined to the usual suspects like Matteo Salvini, the strident leader of the anti-immigration Northern League.

Below is the panel in action - from left to right they are Fabrizio Boldrini, president of Coeso, with responsibilities for initial reception of immigrants, the journalist Donatella Borghesi who was moderating, Maurizio Melani, Professor of international relations, previously Ambassador in Africa and the Middle East and Silverio Ianniello, Professor of fiscal and economic systems, vice president IPALMO.

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From time to time we'll share exclusive interview clips (including never-seen-before footage), the most incisive blog posts and the most interesting dispatches from our event organisers as they take the europe debate to the furthest, biggest, smallest, weirdest, most unusual places around europe and beyond.

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Wake Up Europe is a campaign brought to you by the Wake Up Foundation. It was sparked by the themes explored in The Great European Disaster Movie by Annalisa Piras and Bill Emmott.

We believe in the values that inspired the European project but that this project isn't working. Europe is sleep-walking towards disaster. We must wake up Europe so that we can save Europe from itself.

This job is too important to be left to the elites, the media, the political parties alone: ordinary people must be encouraged to discuss what Europe they want to see.


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