20th Karlsruhe Dialogues - Speakers

Morning Panel Discussion - Europe: A Solidarity Community in Danger?


Lisa Bjurwald


© Medievärlden 2015
Lisa Bjurwald, born in 1978, studied political science at the Universities of Stockholm and Uppsala and at the Swedish Defence University. She worked at various Swedish newspapers, and from 2006 to 2011 she was a member of the editorial team of the magazine Expo, which was then edited by Stieg Larsson with the goal of shedding light on racist, nationalist, and right-wing extremist movements. From 2011 to 2012 Bjurwald was appointed by the Swedish government to be an expert on a commission to combat xenophobia.

Today she writes for a number of Swedish newspapers and magazines. She also works as a columnist for the Norwegian international news magazine Ny Tid and as a freelance writer on the topic of political extremism. In 2010 she was awarded the European Parliament Journalism prize for a report about the Swiss minaret controversy, and in 2009 she received the Milena Jesenská Fellowship for Journalists at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna.

Her published books include: Scrivbordskrigarna (Keyboard Warriors, 2013), a study on right-wing extremist online activities that was awarded the Order of the Teaspoon book prize; and Europas skam. Rasister på frammarsch (Europe’s Shame. Right-Wing Extremism on the Rise, 2012), which was translated into several languages.





1. In your opinion, what are the values that unite the European Union? How can a joint European identity be better fostered in the future?

The sense of community and a shared, albeit oftentimes difficult history, combined with a respect for national differences, still remain, but many of the founding values are gone. A joint identity seems less and less likely, at least for the coming 20 to 30 years.


2. Are alternative models – such as a multi-speed Europe or a European Federation of Regions – conceivable?



3. Do you think that the current nationalist tendencies are a short-term phenomenon caused by recent crises; or do they represent the beginning of a long-term development?

The development has been ongoing since the 1990s; it is thus long-term and has nothing to do with recent crises. At this point, the far right is far too clever and professionalized for the rest of us to stop them. Europe had opportunities to change the course of history, but woke up too late.