Is the EU crisis a threat to European solidarity?

The ongoing financial crisis of the Eurozone is about to turn into a crisis of the European idea itself. Unable to prevent its southern member states from falling into deepening recession, the EU is now facing a growing economic and social division between its wealthy north and the less-prosperous south. Public trust in the EU’s capacity to act is therefore constantly decreasing – the Euro as its currency is losing popularity. Parts of society are positive and wish for a modernization of the EU in terms of strengthening participation. On the other hand, there are nationalist, separatist and anti-European movements gaining ground. Is the heterogeneous European community able to work at long-term perspective? Is economic wealth a necessary condition for its survival? What is the core of the European idea uniting all member states?

In addition to a fading trust from within, the EU is experiencing a loss of authority even beyond its borders. The European Community loses its "model status" because of betraying its own values. As a result, popularity and influence of the EU is decreasing in some other partner countries in the east, particularly in Russia. How did the external perception of the EU change and what consequences does it have on the European idea and future relations between the EU, its eastern partners and other European societies?

Public Journalists: Opinion Leaders or Outsiders?

Just after Russia’s parliamentary election of 2011, the country experienced a growing number of protests against its results and activities of public journalists – a movement not only spreading out to Moscow and other metropolis but also to smaller towns. The Russian society which seemed to have been asleep suddenly woke up and showed interest in the country’s political life. A lot of public journalists were reporting from polling stations, uncovering election frauds, whereas other people registered as observers.

While the opposition was aware of a wider impact on public journalism, blogging and social media from the very beginning, the other party limited its resources to traditional media, mostly state own TV channels at first. Nevertheless, gradually both sides started using media of various kinds eagerly to promote their ideas.

1,5 years have passed since then, and a question has arised: How far are these activities relevant to the up-to-date situation in Russia? We will examine this issue according to the following points:

  • Is public journalism too strong, too weak or balanced in its power?
  • Which similarities and discrepancies are there between global and Russian public journalism? In which way is the Russian public journalism unique?
  • What creative public journalism methods do the government and opposing forces implement to promote their ideas?
  • How did the events during 2011–2013 affect the civic engagement activities in the Russian media field and in the country in general?
  • What will the Russian public journalism look like in the future?