As part of the “Europe Talks” campaign initiated by ZEIT ONLINE and 15 other European media outlets, thousands of Europeans met on May 11 for a face-to-face discussion with a debate partner holding different political views from another country.
More than 21,000 people from 33 countries had registered for the campaign in advance, with some 16,200 completing their registration and being matched with another participant by an algorithm developed by ZEIT ONLINE. Ultimately, almost 6,000 people confirmed their participation and held a cross-border debate. The debate pair that was furthest apart had to cover a distance of almost 4,000 kilometers; the oldest participant was 91 years old. Prior to participation, all those registering had answered seven yes-or-no questions on current political issues on the websites of partner media.
Some 500 participants met their debate partner in person at the kick-off event held at the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels. The event included prominent guests speaking about their vision of Europe: Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office; Jeremy Cliffe, Charlemagne columnist for the Economist; ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti; Philippe Van Parijs, philosopher at the University of Louvain; and Yasmine Ouirhrane, “Young European of the Year 2019.“
”Europe Talks” partners included the television station ARTE, the Bulgarian outlet Capital, De Standaard and Knack of Belgium, Austria’s Der Standard, DELFI in Estonia and Latvia, the Greek paper Efimerida Ton Syntakton, the Financial Times in Britain, Gazeta Wyborcza in Poland, Helsingin Sanomat in Finland, the Italian outlets La Repubblica and HuffPost, Morgenbladet in Norway and Politiken in Denmark.
”Europe Talks” was based on the digital platform “My Country Talks”, developed by ZEIT ONLINE in cooperation with international partners.
More information on “Europe Talks”, such as the inception and average age of the participants as well as the most controversial topics, can be found at: https://www.zeit.de/serie/europe-talks.