Euro Café on ZDF

On 25 January 2020, German TV (ZDF channel) came to film the Norwich Euro Café.

They found us via social media back in November. David had the idea during the election as a way of showing friendship to EU27 citizens, and floated the concept in local FB groups. We were amazed by how widely shared and enthusiastically welcomed it was over the following few days, so we launched the following Saturday, 23 November.

ZDF were not able to fit in a visit to Norwich during the election campaign, but came instead on the final Saturday in January. David was hosting that day, as Sarah was at the national Grassroots conference in London. She mentioned the initiative in the final plenary, where it was well received.

There are two clips. Both are in German. The first was an item on the ZDF programme Auslandsjournal, broadcast on 29 January. The second was an item on Heute in Europa, broadcast the following afternoon. A member of the Oxford Euro Café has kindly provided a translation of the Heute in Europa item:

Melancholy on the Island

ZDF, Heute in Europa, January 29th 2020: reporting by Diana Zimmerman

The clock is ticking. Between Friday night and Saturday, Great Britain is leaving the EU. The anticipation is rising for the Brexiters. But how do Remainers feel, those who wish to remain in the EU?

Even his little Morris car refuses to give up. David Patey whizzes through the streets of Norwich. Since the referendum, the 62-year old has been wondering how he can help the victims of Brexit, those who are anxious, frustrated and disappointed. Once a week he decorates St Mary Magdalen Church, showing his caring side, makes tea and warms up croissants. ‘These are EU27 croissants, they’ll keep’, he says.

David Patey: ‘The Euro café is an opportunity for EU27 citizens to meet and for those who are upset about Britain’s decision to leave the EU and that Brexit is now happening.’ The closer the historic date comes, the needier his guests become, Brits as well as EU citizens. All are deeply unsettled about the direction their home country and chosen home has chosen to take. Christine Ramp-Wolf: ‘The fact that there are British citizens who grieve in the same way as I do and who feel they are EU citizens is a consolation.’

Usually David runs the café with his wife Sarah, but she is in London today. A Grassroots for Europe meeting is taking place, it is like a defiant wake. She says: ‘It can be very isolating to think differently from what the media who call the shots are telling you to think. We are treated like a minority, even though the statistics say otherwise.’ Although Boris Johnson won the General Election in December, 53% of Brits voted for parties who either wanted a second referendum or to stop Brexit altogether. Pro-EU Brits say they are the strongest pro-EU movement in Europe, and vow that they are not beaten yet.

Will Hutton: ‘We will be working on re-joining the EU and this will start in the next few months.’

Sarah will report back to David about the Grassroots for Europe conference. They both know that the way forward is the way back into the EU, no matter how long it takes.

[Translation: Annette Shaw]