The small conference room of the London Fabian Society HQ was completely packed for last night’s screening of The Great European Disaster Movie. The audience comprised both long standing members and a few newcomers and a featured a sprinkling of different nationalities: Spanish, Italian and Turkish are those I could identify.
After the film I led the Q&A together with the organiser, the environmental expert and Fabian veteran Stephen Tisdale. I asked the audience whether they felt pessimistic or optimistic about the future of Europe: the answer was unequivocal pessimism. Some mentioned the Euro crisis having unleashed a veritable disaster in several countries. Others feared the repercussions of the refugee crisis on Europe’s ability to function. Worry about a potential Brexit among the mainly pro-European crowd loomed large in the discussion: presenting a positive view of Europe for the undecided is going to be a real challenge for the next few months.
Interestingly all but one in the audience agreed with the statement that Europe is worth saving. The lone dissenter, a young Italian, so the pro-European side as only interested in maintaining the status quo, the need for urgent reforms somehow swept aside in the effort to save Europe.
The left-wing audience was also asked to comment on whether today’s Europe pays enough attention to the social dimension, something that was obvious 25 years ago but is less evident now.
An older lady in the audience criticised the film for its sentimentality but went on to say the case for Europe cannot be made in facts and figures alone, highlighting in the process how the task of exploring the issue of Europe in a passionate but informative way is a nearly impossible one.
But if getting right, or getting to the truth of the matter, on Europe is not easy, it is more important than ever than more people than ever do get together to discuss what Europe they want.
Please join our campaign, register on our website at www.wakeupeurope.eu and bring the film to the people in your networks, wherever you are in Europe.
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.