Disinformation Wars

No, European governments are not handing out ‘brothel vouchers’ to immigrants; and no, the EU is not trying to ban bendy cucumbers. Euro-myths are as old as the union itself, but with elections just around the corner, setting the record straight feels more important than ever. This week’s guest is on the frontlines of the fight against disinformation: Jules Darmanin, the coordinator of a new continent-wide band of fact-checkers.

Plus: Julian Assange, Swiss democracy, and the world’s greatest neighbours.
You can find the Fact Check EU website here in 11 beautiful languages.

That nice article about our former guest Flavia Kleiner that Dominic was talking about is here, and the Swiss podcast episode that Katy was raving about is available here.

Nice One, Slovakia

This week, a little glimmer of hope from central Europe in the form of a new Slovakian president who refuses to fight dirty. And a little glimmer of the future in the form of our guest, bionic woman and tech journalist Mimi Billing, one of a growing number of Swedes to have got themselves… microchipped? Plus: Russian whale jails, a decades-old French mystery, and germs at the opera.

Follow Mimi on Twitter here and read her great article about Swedish body-hacking here!

And for more on Slovakia’s badass president-elect Zuzana Čaputová, there’s no better place to start than the latest episode of the In Between Europe podcast hosted by our former guest Zselyke Csaky, which you can check out here.

A massive thanks to our growing army of Patreon supporters for keeping the show going. You can chip in at patreon.com/europeanspodcast.

Political Tinder

This week, like so many other weeks, it’s been easy to take a look at the world and think: how did things get so polarised? Ahead of the European elections, the battle lines are already being drawn: nationalists vs globalists, liberals vs conservatives. But a fascinating project is trying to get Europeans from across the political spectrum to actually sit down and talk about their differences. Sebastian Horn, the deputy editor of Die Zeit online, is on the line from Berlin to explain the thinking behind the Europe Talks project. Plus: changing populist fortunes from Budapest to Amsterdam, and the mathematics of soap bubbles.

Sign up to take part in Europe Talks here.

MEGALITHS!!!!

After the week it’s been, we could all do with a break from the present. This week, we’re venturing into Europe past — about six thousand years ago, to a time when mysterious stone structures were springing up all around the continent. Today we call them megaliths, and there’s a lot we still don’t know about them. But one woman has been on a quest to work out how these extraordinary monuments spread around Europe. Archaeologist Bettina Schulz Paulsson is on the line from Gothenburg to talk about how early Europeans were exchanging knowledge and culture a good few millennia before the EU was invented. Also: a reverse art heist, a blow for the anti-vaxxers , and how to say no to big business.

A taste of the nuclear apocalypse

This week The Europeans are heading underground to the nearest bunker. Julie McDowall, Cold War writer and expert on all things atomic, is on the line from Glasgow to talk about how different countries in Europe planned for nuclear war and what it’s like to visit Chernobyl, three decades after the disaster. We also talk about the woman shaking up Estonian politics, questionable ethics in Italian opera, and Slovenian sandwiches.

They / Them / Theirs

This week we’re talking about transgender rights in Europe with the author and activist CN Lester, whose wonderful book Trans Like Me gets its mainstream paperback release on Thursday. And on a continent where young people mostly stayed at home for the last elections, Mick ter Reehorst calls in to explain why he’s launched a new campaign, #ProveThemWrong, to get out the youth vote in May. Plus: winter bacon, sticking it to the homophobes, and a mile-high culture clash between France and the Netherlands.

 

 

The brands that Karl built

This week, the kid from Hamburg who grew up to become one of the most powerful forces in global fashion. Karl Lagerfield built not one but three hugely successful brands. After his death last week at the age of 85, we’re exploring the flaws, quirks and legacy of this complicated man with the help of Fiachra Gibbons, culture editor at Agence France-Presse and long-time observer of ‘the Kaiser’. We also discuss Europe’s rising problem with anti-Semitism, some good news for Serbia’s gay first couple, and how to make it big in Finland.

Thanks to everyone who’s started chipping in to our Patreon fund! Help us keep the show going at patreon.com/europeanspodcast.

Thanks for listening.