Europe Talks

In order to strengthen cohesion in Europe, we must also talk about our differences! For this reason, the Allianz Kulturstiftung supports "Europe Talks": In the run-up to the European elections 2019, the Europe-wide dialogue project enabled thousands of conversations between citizens who met online or in person. Brought together through an algorithm, people met who have different opinions on as many political issues as possible and live in different countries. Together with a broad network of European media partners, ZEIT ONLINE organised the dialogues, which took place simultaneously in ten European countries and at the Europe Talks Conference in Brussels in May.

The media partners include: The Financial Times (UK), fsyn (Greece), Helsingin Sanomat (Finland), ARTE (Germany/France), Capital (Bulgaria), Standaard (Belgium), Knack (Belgium), Delfi (Estonia, Lithuania), Der Standard (Austria), Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland), Huffington Post (Italy), La Repubblica (Italy), Morgenbladet (Norway), Politiken (Denmark).


All media partners have asked their readers seven controversial questions, which are being debated in many European countries. For example: Should all European countries reintroduce strict national border controls? Or: Should rich European countries support poorer countries? An algorithm then compiled those couples who answered the questions as differently as possible and live in a neighbouring European country.

The interest in participating was enormous: almost 15,000 participants met all over Europe for a personal conversation, by video or telephone call. Over 80% of them stated that they had had a positive experience with "Europe Talks" and that they would like to participate again. Scientific accompaniment has shown that just two hours of conversation between people with completely different political views are enough to weaken polarisation and break down prejudices. In addition, the meetings served to strengthen the participants' confidence in social cohesion.

Europe Talks has been awarded the Jean Monnet Prize 2019 for its integrative power. The prize honours projects and personalities who "contribute to supporting and strengthening European integration". The jury stated that Europe Talks had achieved "combining citizens' participation with the possibilities of digital tools and the role of the media" in a wonderful way.