Europe Talks 2024 discussion guide

Dear participant,

You and your partner have signed up for a one-on-one conversation across borders. It's a great opportunity to get to know somebody you would normally never meet - however it can also can seem intimidating. But don’t feel pressured! You don’t have to solve Europe’s big issues. The goal is simply to create an open conversation between two people who would probably never meet otherwise.

This guide provides a few suggestions for your conversation, but it's up to you both to decide what you would like to talk about. You may discuss any topics you like for as long as you like. The most important thing is to connect across borders. We hope you and your partner will exchange perspectives, share your daily lives, and maybe even create some ideas for the future.

Tips for a great conversation

Sometimes, how you talk is more important than what you talk about. In general, it's much easier to have an open conversation if both partners are mindful, respectful, and constructive. Before you and your partner meet, start by reviewing these ten rules for a good discussion.

The discussion questions

There are 8 discussion questions for Europe Talks 2024, which were chosen by the Europe Talks media partner network. These questions cover some of the cross-border issues that Europe is facing right now. Feel free to think of a few more for your conversation!

  1. Should domestic flights be banned within all EU countries?
  2. Should the EU have a joint European army?
  3. Should Ukraine become a member of the EU?
  4. Should Europe accept more refugees?
  5. Should politicians who spread disinformation be banned from social media?
  6. Has the EU improved the lives of the people in your country?
  7. Should abortion be a constitutional right in all EU countries?

Starting off

Before you and your partner dive into the discussion questions, it's important to take some time to get to know each other. Even though you live in different places and have different opinions, you surely have something in common. Perhaps start by talking about your hobbies, interests, family, or career. Or, try[UZ1] one of these ice-breakers:

  1. What motivated you to sign up for Europe Talks?
  2. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Why?
  3. What is the most recent thing that made you smile?

Sharing your perspective

When you and your partner were introduced via email, you were both given a list of discussion questions that you disagree on. Now is the time to listen and share why you hold those different opinions.

Here are a few tips to help you out:

  1. Don't try to convince your partner of your viewpoint. Instead, share some of the reasons why you hold your opinion. How has your daily experience shaped your ideas? What have you read or heard that influenced your beliefs? Make sure to take the time to ask your partner the same questions.
  2. Give your discussion partner time to share their perspective. Even if you feel strongly about the topics you're discussing, try not to get carried away with the conversation or interrupt your partner. It is never acceptable to belittle or make fun of your discussion partner, or raise your voice for any reason.
  3. Ask questions. Everyone is an expert on their own life. Your conversation partner might have experiences or ideas that can help you better understand complicated issues, or counter stereotypes and myths. While being respectful, asking your partner questions is a great way to help you shape your own opinions.

Finding common ground

Most people hold the same core beliefs, for example that all people should be treated equally with respect, or that our natural world is worth protecting. Once you and your discussion partner have shared your perspectives, take a moment to see if there is any common ground between your opinions.

  1. What values do you and your partner have in common?
  2. What individual factors make you think differently about the discussion questions?

Talking about the future

A great conversation always ends on a constructive note. No matter where you come from or what your opinions are, you and your partner have one thing in common: you both care about the future of Europe.

  1. Take a moment at the end of your conversation to discuss your hopes for the future, and what solutions you would like to see for some of the discussion questions.
  2. Share a story of hope or an constructive initiative you may have seen in your country.
  3. What kind of solutions would you and your discussion partner design together?

Give feedback!

After your conversation is over, don't forget to fill out the feedback form you will receive in your email! And please send us a screenshot of you and your partner during your conversation. We would love to show as many matches of Europe Talks 2024 as possible.