Let us introduce you to our new column, whose title, 'Creative Entrepreneurs', is already a wonderful example of European language creation. And creation is what it's all about here. In this column we aim to present young European minds who work and live for their own projects and for Europe. Each issue you'll find here a new example for how you can make Europe your own... This time, we visit Bruno and Claire in Belgium: they decided to record a radio programme in their own living room in order to reach people and let them discover Europe...

European enterprising spirit is in the air...

The first time I met Claire Boccart, we shared some "Schnittchen" (a sort of open sandwich - a very German speciality, usually served at formal events) at an official reception where Claire was about to receive an award for her commitment to a European youth project. I felt a bit intimidated by the surrounding festivities, but soon Claire and myself were in the middle of a heated discussion about the possible ingredients of that weird topping of our "Schnittchen". One thing led to another and soon we were talking about the current attitude towards the European Union among our peers and discovered that we shared the same concern for making the young European generation realise how loveable the EU actually can be. Claire told me about her husband Bruno and the small Belgian village where they live. In the room next to their living room you can find the headquarters of their little enterprise: a radio recording studio.

Photo Source: Bruno Dubois
Claire Boccart and Bruno Dubois

A few days later I called Bruno, Claire’s husband, to interview him thoroughly on their European radio programme called L’Europe et vous or 'Europe and you'. Bruno told me that about 25 years ago, when he was still a student in political science, he travelled to Berlin which at that time was still a divided city. He returned home from the German capital, strongly impressed by the two different faces of Europe that he encountered there. The stark contrast between the East and West, already palpable in the limited area of one city filled him with the urge to make people at home understand and appreciate what the European Union did for them. ''In the Belgian countryside, most people don't realise that the EU affects them at all. This political construct seems just so far away and abstract'' says Claire.

''In the little room next to their living room you can find the headquarters of their enterprise: a radio recording studio''

It was the urge to change this which inspired Bruno and Claire to record their own radio programme, dedicated exclusively to European topics and broadcast today by 10 different local radio stations in Belgium and a further francophone radio station in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. What they do, essentially, is to edit a 45 minute long radio programme each month, consisting of many different contributions by their collaborators from all over Europe. Every second Thursday, they upload this recorded piece onto an online server. All local radio stations which broadcast Bruno and Claire's programme can access this platform via a password to download it.

One of the major difficulties, especially in the initial phase of the project, consisted in establishing a network. L’Europe et vous first had to be included in the various news channels that forward information from the European institutions to the media. On the other hand, they also had to make contact to those local radio stations which would, later on, broadcast their programme on air.

''We told ourselves that if such a busy politician has the time to tell those kids about the EU and that if there is a real interest for this topic, already among kids, than we have absolutely every reason to continue our project''

Today, the whole thing is managed by Bruno himself, his wife Claire and his father-in-law who all work on a voluntary basis. Sometimes it is hard to keep up the motivation when you are not only struggling to create a new 45 minute radio programme every week but also managing family life and work. Nevertheless, some moments remind them that it's worth all the hassle. Bruno gives one example: ''In 2007 we accompanied a class of Belgian primary school kids to Brussels where they had the opportunity to meet Bronislaw Geremek, a former Polish deputy at the European parliament, whom I admire highly, and talk to him. We were so moved by Geremek's patience and friendliness as well as by the profound interest of those school kids! We told ourselves that if such a busy politician has the time to tell those kids about the EU and that if there is a real interest for this topic, already among kids, than we have absolutely every reason to continue our project.''

Photo Source: Bruno Dubois
You don't need a lot of equipment to do an interview...

And this is what still do today with the help of about 20 to 25 students from all over Europe. L'Europe et vous has particularly good connections to the students at the College of Europe in Brussels (read more about that here!) as well as to the would-be journalists at the IHECS (the Institute for the Study of Social Communications, also in Brussels). However, in general, everybody is more than welcome to participate. There are only the following 3 conditions:

1) The topic of your contribution (be it an interview, a reportage or a survey) has to be clearly related to Europe. Further, it should broach the issue in a personal way. The overall goal of the programme is to raise people's awareness of the European dimension of their everyday life.

2) Your recorded piece should not exceed the time limit of 3 minutes.

3) It has to be in French or English.

Apart from this, you are free to cover any question or problem you feel should be addressed, and test any technical implementation you consider suitable. Topics at L'Europe et vous have already touched on such issues as alcohol consumption in different European countries. In cooperation with a school class they also covered a play about European history and interviewed the lead actor. Some of their authors contribute regularly to the programme, for example a Mexican student at the College of Europe, who left his home country to learn more about the European institutions and the organisational structure of the Union because he is convinced that a similar confederation should be implemented in Latin America. For L'Europe et vous he recorded and shared a regular series of comments concerning his thoughts on Europe and the Europeans with which he shared each month.

Did you ever dream of being a radio presenter? Do you have an important question to discuss with the European public? Now you know the rules of the game; go ahead and participate! (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

And if your know someone (your friend, your neighbour or yourself) who shows true European enterprising spirit, then tell us so that we can share their project with the rest of Europe…

Cover photo: "Sebastian Schütz" / www.youthmedia.eu, CC-Lizenz(by-nc-nd)

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