"Europe must become a feeling"

"Europe must become a feeling."


The presentation of the EU (election) in the media occupied us pupils of the Comprehensive School of the City of Brühl on Tuesday 7th May 2019 at the panel discussion.


“What does it mean to be European?“ asked the moderator Christoph Heinemann (Deutschlandradio) the guests Peter Pauls (journalist and the former editor of the Kölner Stadtanzeiger), Marzanna Dyjak-Diederich (of the group Pulse of Europe Köln), Michael Strempel  (WDR) and (blogger)Lennart Bendfeld-Huthmann as well as Andreas Christ (head of „information centre of the EU Commission“) . Through moving stories we got to know the experts in a round of introductions. The result was that Europe is a unique peace project for the blogger Bendfeld- Huthmann. The Polish refugee Dyjak-Diederich can be free in Europe. The journalist Stempler found his cultural home in Europe and Peter Pauls connects Europe with his beautiful childhood memories of having bought ice cream from his Italian Ice-cream vendor.


After the journalists gave short impressions on the topic “Europe” in general, more specific topics like the Austrian incident concerning the FPÖ were discussed. They explained to us that in the meantime a strong pressure for justification of journalists is evolving due to the people‘s expectation of the media reporting correct news and valueing freedom of. Since taxpayers do not expect the media to report fake news and value freedom of expression. When the moderator addressed the topic of article 17, which is critically viewed by young people, Strempel said it was a question of freedom and from his perspective a "totally unexpected reaction of the masses".


When asked how fake news can spread so quickly and easily in this day and age, the blogger explained that the reader can't see a difference on screen between a journalist and a blogger. But also the filter bubbles in the net lead to a limited perception of events. This mixes reality with what is on the net, which sometimes leads to a trap. 


However, we were particularly interested in why anyone would  spread fake news at all. Pauls told us that institutions always have an intention. That means "no info is produced free of charge". He told us to be as careful with news as with our food. To show us how quickly a person can come up with fake news, the moderator, Andreas Christ, had invented a fake message, which we would have bought immediately if he hadn't told us that it was just fake news.  With shock we had to realize that that this required no major skills. The guests reported about Investments for spreading fake news to weaken the importance of the EU. Slogans with a striking opinion  often cause disturbing moods in the population. Pauls described Brexit as "a great live experiment". Emotional messages are broadcasted to evoke certain feelings such as fear in order to prevent us from thinking rationally.


The experts appealed to us to play an active part in shaping Europe, for example through actions such as “Fridays for Future “ or petitions, and not to let EU opponents get us down. Europe must become a feeling.

Sarah Amin



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