The high stakes of the EU referendum

stakesFour weeks ago, the UCL European Institute launched the Brexit Divisions project – comprising two guest edited weeks with openDemocracy and two public debates – to explore the strategies and stakes of the upcoming EU referendum. Looking back, Uta Staiger, Deputy Director of the UCL European Institute, explains what we’ve learned.

There’s a referendum coming.

And as the director of British Future Sunder Katwala has pointed out, it may still be quite a good referendum, too. One that encourages democratic engagement. One that may increase people’s knowledge and understanding of Britain’s place in the EU. One that will pitch arguments against each other and let them battle it out in public to settle a thorny issue decidedly.

But it is not yet. Continue reading

The Great European Disaster Movie: how a nightmarish vision led to a campaign of European awakening

euro-disaster-moviePaola Buonadonna, Campaigns Director at the Wake Up Foundation, tells the story of The Great European Disaster Movie and what the Wake Up Europe! Campaign which followed is seeking to achieve. UCL is hosting a free screening of this film at the European Institute on 11 November 2015 followed by a critical debate with Annalisa Piras (director, producer and writer of the film) and Bill Emmott (executive producer and former editor of The Economist). They will be joined by Jan Kubik (Director of the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies) and Antonios Tzanakopoulous (Professor of Public International Law at Oxford).

When Italian director Annalisa Piras started shooting The Great European Disaster Movie, the hard-hitting documentary drama exploring the crises besieging Europe, all was not well in Europe.  But she is definitely not surprised by how much the situation has deteriorated since.

“We made the film because we could already see the edge of the cliff that we are now walking on approaching on the horizon,” she said.  “When the film came out some thought it was too dark. We were accused of exaggerating, of scaremongering but our nightmarish vision of a Europe sleepwalking towards disaster now appears rather prescient.” Continue reading