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From the 100th anniversary of the First World War to elections in Slovenia, it's been a busy few weeks for Europe. Frances and Veronica, two of E&M's new editors, share articles that recently got them thinking about the continent.
Frances, Sixth Sense editor
A MEDIA BLINDSPOT
Something rather important happened on 27 June 2014. Game-changing, one might even say – if you can forgive the buzzword – for a good three million people. Ring any bells? It was during the summit of the EU heads of state, if that helps. Still nothing? All right, I'll tell you: it was the day that Albania was finally granted EU candidate status, some five years after its initial application for membership. And to be honest, I don't blame you if you haven't heard about it. By and large, most English-speaking media appear to have ignored this historic decision. At the time of writing, the BBC has not even updated its country profile on Albania to note that following a recommendation from the European Commission the small Balkan nation has indeed become a candidate for EU membership.
In fact, I only stumbled across one article – published in the English-language section of the Deutsche Welle – that really got to grips what the development means for Albania and its people. That said though, I'm not sure I entirely agree with the implication that Albania does not yet "belong to Europe". Surely to be European means more than simply living in a state where the rule of law is observed. And who's to say Albania isn't already European? Geography is certainly on the country's side; history too, I should have thought. Or are European credentials now measured purely in terms of EU membership? Somebody had better break the news to Switzerland...
What impact do major sporting events have on local people? Do mainstream Western media only scratch the surface when it comes to popular opinion in the former USSR? Edgar Gerrard Hughes takes a look at a project that sought to discover exactly that.
Every so often, in the midst of a European television report about sporting events in one of the successor states to the Soviet Union, a local citizen will appear on screen for a few seconds and angrily denounce Western arrogance. They are presented as the voice of the nation, and the (intended?) response of many viewers is dismissive: these are not original or authentic opinions, but rather the regurgitation of official propaganda. We all know that media freedom in Russia leaves much to be desired, so when we see a vox pop from the streets of Sochi, it is easy to assume that the speaker is simply parroting their government’s self-interested agenda.
A response like that is, of course, at best lazy and simplistic. But how can we get a more rounded sense of the domestic impact of events like the Winter Olympics when these brief news cameos are our most readily available source of popular opinion? Five participants from Berlin’s prestigious Studienkolleg programme (incidently also the birthplace of E&M), which gives young people a chance to explore Europe on their own intellectual terms, set out to provide a better answer to this question. An answer based on the experiences of people actually living in the countries in question.
Our friends from the National Youth Council of Serbia have asked us to spread the word about the disastrous floods currently happening in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Gestures of European solidarity and support are desperately needed. Please spread the word and help our friends in these difficult times. Several countries, among them France, Russia and the United States, have already sent aid to Serbia and Bosnia. Serbia has already declared a state of emergency and asked for humanitarian aid and support from the European Commission and other countries.
See below the press release of National Youth Council in Serbia for more information and possible ways to help.
National Youth Council of Serbia (KOMS) / Out of the Box International
SERBIA AND BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA ARE WITNESSING THE BIGGEST NATURAL DISASTER IN LIVING MEMORY
HELP ACROSS EUROPE NEEDED!
Belgrade, 17th May 2014 – Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegowina aregoing through the worst floods ever recorded in this region. The situation is critical with thousands of people being evacuated; many of them are still waiting to be rescued.
Police and army in helicopters are trying to prevent further damage in the town of Obrenovac, south of Belgrade, after the Kolubara River burst its banks and flooded 90 per cent of the town. According to one rescuer in Obrenovac, bodies are floating in the water and the rescuers have trouble evacuating all the people who are still trapped in the city.
"The situation in Obrenovac remained very critical and rescuers had started uncovering dead bodies. I will not reveal the number until the water goes down," Predrag Maric, head of police emergency sector said on Saturday.
Floods are threatening to leave one third of Serbia without electricity. Forecasters expect the Sava River to rise in the coming days due to the rainfall upstream in Bosnia and Croatia.
A state of emergency has been declared in Bosnia also, after the heaviest flooding in past 120 years. "People need assistance in basic groceries, clothing and hygienic supplies. Many people are left homeless due to the landslides and flooding, and unfortunately first victims are marked. The whole country is on its feet and volunteers are making efforts to help in affected areas such as Maglaj, Doboj, Zavidovici, Bijeljina, Bosanski Samac, Vogosca", as Lamija Terzimehic, journalist from Sarajevo informed us.
Help from abroad is needed, please publish those appeals at your news and help rescuing operations.
Donations to the Red Cross of Republic Srpska: NLB RAZVOJNA BANKA A.D., SWIFT CODE: RAZBBA22, IBAN:
BA395620128039461369, client name: CRVENI KRST REPUBLIKE SRPSKE, client address:
SRPSKIH RATNIKA 1, 71 420 PALE Account number: 508-4101833294
Donations to the Red Cross of Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation: RAIFFEISEN BANK d.d. BiH, SWIFT CODE: RZBABASS, IBAN:
BA391610000000850119, client name: CRVENI KRIZ FEDERACIJE BIH SARAJEVO, client address: NEDIMA FILIPOVICA 9, 71000 SARAJEVO
This month, a group of talented writers from across Europe converged on Berlin to attend a workshop celebrating our inaugural Young Journalist Award. The articles that had won each participant a place at the table spanned subjects as surprising and various as Europe itself: from beggars to bus stations, cheese crackers to the mafia.
IN 33 DAYS