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Historical Archives of the European Union - European University Institute

International Visegrad Fellow Nataša Simeunović Bajić

Interdisciplinary scholar and media and communications expert Nataša Simeunović Bajić is looking at TV Eurikon and TV Europa as attempts by the EEC to promote pan-European identity. She is the first Serbian academic to win a research grant at the HAEU.

11 September 2023 | Research


The recently established International Visegrad Foundation Grant Programme at the Historical Archives provides opportunities for scholars from the Visegrad four countries, the Eastern Accession countries, and the Western Balkans to pursue research questions on European integration.

Professor Nataša Simeunović Bajić, an assistant Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Niš, is one of the recently selected fellows. She arrived at the HAEU in late August to conduct research for her project An insight into the beginning of pan-European transnational television: TV Eurikon and TV Europa.

Why TV?

In her work at the Archives, Nataša is collecting behind-the-scenes information surrounding the creation of Eurikon and TV Europa, which were launched in the 1980s.

“TV was one of the most powerful mediums in the twentieth century, providing viewers with a window on the world. European decision-makers recognised that,” she explained.

While it is hard to establish a firm connection between TV and European identity, one can examine how the Institutions tried to take advantage of existing technology to disseminate pan-European views. After consulting press articles and other fonds from the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the European Space Agency, she feels confident that she has found enough evidence to make a contribution to scholarship on the topic.

Lessons learned from the Eurikon and TV Europa failures

The final part of the Eurikon and TV story is that they failed. “Eurikon and TV Europa were brilliant ideas, but they depended on certain technological advances and economic investment that didn’t materialise,” explains Nataša. “My impression so far is that, as channels dedicated more to art and culture, they could not convince advertisers to invest across Europe.”

Moreover, Nataša’s archival research also brought to light the many difficulties the Institutions faced establishing the new European TV stations (and maybe to innovation in general): “The EU faced so many obstacles to these projects: establishing the infrastructure, harmonising law, adjusting to diverse viewing habits, maintaining funding.”

Compare the fate of those two experiments with Euronews and Eurosport, which did succeed. “Sports, scandal and sex are more certain to sell,” she notes.

The Visegrad Fellowship at the HAEU

“The Visegrad opportunity is really good, because it gives people the chance to access this type of information and take advantage of these kinds of research opportunities,” she said.
Also not to be underestimated is the “amazing” research setting of the HAEU and the European University Institute. “I thought of Boccaccio,” she smiled, “and how the hills of Fiesole inspired him to write the Decameron. That was no accident!”
Indeed, Nataša’s journey through the EU fonds may have convinced her to develop an idea concerning the development of satellite TV in Europe. “There is a lot of material,” she says, “maybe enough for a book.”

Last update: 11 September 2023

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