Today we are making a renewed and deeper commitment to reporting on every aspect of Europe – the continent, its people, its politics, institutions, economy and culture.
The Guardian is a European news organisation with a close relationship with our large and committed audience in Europe. And we believe readers, from Paris to Porto, Madrid to Munich, want journalism that tries to understand our continent better and to explore hopeful solutions to the crises and challenges facing it. At this critical moment in history, where many are turning to disengagement, introspection and national self-interest, we will stay open to shared perspectives and the public sphere.
The Guardian, founded in Manchester, England, in 1821, was interested in European society as early as 1848, when revolution swept the continent, and we were on the ground during the fall of the Paris commune in 1871. We were European 100 years ago, reporting on the end of the great war and the settlement at Versailles.
We were in Madrid as Franco prevailed in 1939 and on the continent throughout the second world war. We were there at the collapse of communism and reunification of Europe, and throughout Britain’s EU membership.
This is Europe is a new stream of Guardian journalism that investigates the big challenges that transcend national boundaries, and seeks out the solutions that could benefit us all. These are testing times, and crises are not limited by national borders. But then neither are we.
We were European when our courageous correspondents covered wars in Bosnia, Kosovo, Georgia and Ukraine. We were European during the key political moments of the past three decades, with live coverage of major elections, summits and popular movements.
We were European during the dramatic migration crisis of 2015 and the terrible succession of terrorist attacks that continues to unsettle Europe. And, of course, we were European in the Brexit referendum in 2016.
The Guardian – and its sister Sunday newspaper, the Observer – retain a powerful and instinctive European sensibility, in favour of the common good and social justice. We believe in cross-border collaboration, creativity and international partnerships, despite their rejection by various European politicians over the past five years.
When we ask European readers what they like about the Guardian, they tell us they value our broad perspective, and reporting that focuses on issues across the whole continent rather than taking a narrow or solely national view.
And, just as all European news outlets face severe financial challenges, they also value our refusal to implement a paywall, meaning Guardian journalism is free for all to read, regardless of wealth or status.
In an era of unwelcome pressure from oligarchs, state meddling and assaults on free speech, our readers value the Guardian’s unique independent ownership model – with no proprietor and no shareholders, which means we are free from commercial or political interference. We can interrogate and investigate power, wherever it lies, without fear or favour.
For all of these reasons, we have decided to deepen our commitment to Europe. We will cover cross-European issues as well as individual countries. We will team up with partner news organisations for investigative projects like the Panama Papers. We will produce everything from long reads to short films, such as the Europeans video series we launch today, created by leading writers and directors from seven different European countries.
We will interview and challenge European leaders. We will tease out trends and dig into the data that tells us why life is different in Copenhagen, Cardiff and Cádiz. We will focus on the things that unite us as Europeans: culture, food, business, the arts, sport, books, science, health, ideas.
From now on, European voices, issues and people will be more visible and present across everything we publish, from our news pages to opinion, to culture to fashion and beyond.
From Monday we will launch a dedicated space on our digital front page with news from, and about, European issues – take a look at theguardian.com. We are relaunching our curated This is Europe newsletter, covering all things European, which will now be weekly – readers can sign up here. And in future we will also host live events in Europe to bring our readers and supporters together.
In Europe today, crises and challenges – migration, the environment, populism, the digital revolution, contagious diseases – almost always transcend national borders. But so does the Guardian, as a genuinely transnational publisher. As Britain moves further from the EU in political terms, we know many of our readers both in the UK and across Europe remain as interested as ever in common themes and common ground, in all that we share. We will meet that need by informing Britain about Europe, Europe about Britain, and Europeans about each other.
In 2020 and beyond, the Guardian will stay committed to Europe. Britain may be pulling back from Europe. The Guardian is not.