BR Fernsehen - Kontrovers


Europe before the election A travel through a divided continent

Brexit, the rise of right-wing-populism and a growing cleavage: With the upcoming elections in the end of may, europe stands in front of the biggest acid test of its history. Some feel patronised and want to leave the Union, others call for a clear mutual eu policy. How could it come to that? And what kind of changes are necessary to stabilize europe?

Von: Julia Mumelter, Andreas Bachmann

Stand: 20.05.2019

To find answers to this questions, we have travelled through six countries. Some of them are standing at the crossroads, others are sceptic about the EU, and one country surprised us with enthusiasm about the EU. Two reporters, one personal journey. Julia Mumelter got the european union in her roots - as a South Tyrol citzien. Andreas Bachman, whose grandfather died in the Second World War, has a connection to europe through the history of his family. For him, it is particularly as a peace project.

Europe guarantees freedom

Andreas Bachmann in conversation with a major of the Lithuanian army in Rukla. Security is one of the big arguments in Lithuania for the EU.

Several times, we get to know that this peace is in danger - an escalation of violence is not far away. But we also learn that Europe is very important as financial support, as guarantee for freedom and as leading force when it comes to unifying a continent, that has been seperated for hundreds of years.

While being on the road, we try to understand why the European Union is for many people a problem and not a solution. We visited not only the founding countries of the European Economic Community like Italy and France but also young member states like Lithuania and Slowakia.

Big differences between the several member states

There couldn't be more difference between the several member states and their relation to the EU. In Lithuania, it's absolutely natural for people to feel as both: as european and as lithuanian citizien. For them, the EU gives them the chance to be part of a big community, a protective shield regarding Russia.

A yellow vest-protester in France calls for a "Frexit" with his poster.

Although Slowakia is also a small country that benefits from the European Union, only 13 percent took part in the last european elections in 2014. In France, we went to a demonstration of the yellow vests - some of them even call for a so called "Frexit".

The last stop of our travel was Ireland. A country that is deeply involved in the Brexit-dilemma. Here we experienced what an euro exit means to people living close to the boarder. We met people who fight for the peace in their country, the organisation "Border Communities against Brexit".

Safety and security, national pride and awareness of Europe as a union. That’s what the EU needs to represent to all of its member states. It needs to find an answer to the feeling of being left behind. Only free trade and financial support can't hold the continent together anymore.