The Big Picture

The Making and Breaking of Europe

We analyse how populist far-right movements are challenging the promise of an integrated union.

Europe is at a crossroads. Populist far-right movements are challenging the very premise of an integrated European Union.

To understand Europe and where we are today … we have to go back to the Europe that no longer exists.

by Alina Polyakova, research scholar

Anti-immigration rhetoric is coalescing with anti-EU politics to challenge the liberal ideals of the European integrationist project.

In this two-part series, The Big Picture explores the interwoven history of the European project and the far right in postwar Europe – both East and West.

Beginning with the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community from the ashes of World War II, we chart the trajectory of European integration, in tandem with the story of the European far right, recounting the series of shifts that have led to today’s critical juncture: a post-Brexit European Union and a stark rise in support for far right, populist parties across Europe.

The Big Picture traces how far-right politics has increasingly crept into the mainstream, setting the political agenda on issues such as the EU, immigration and refugee policies.

Combining documentary storytelling with panel discussion, the series comprises both historical exposition and incisive analysis on the history and future of Europe. 

INTERACTIVE: The making and breaking of Europe


 The making and breaking of Europe – Part Two