Do you have a story or an idea to share about Europe? The good and the bad are welcome, as long as it includes constructive ideas on how to improve the European Union and European cooperation.
– Constructive –
All contributions need to present a constructive solution. We want to shape Europe through a debate that addresses criticism instead of engaging negative outlooks.
– Inclusive –
We are committed to conveying a breadth and diversity of views. Without inclusivity, it is impossible to reflect different angles and perspectives on Europe. A constructive discussion benefits from such different views.
– Accurate and credible –
Articles need to be fact-based, claims should be supported with evidence or authority, mainly through the reference to trustworthy sources. To allow for a constructive debate, it is essential that opinions are informed, balanced and credible.
– Simple –
Make it easy and fun to read. Feel free to crack a joke! We want our articles to be as accessible as possible and engage everyone in a discussion on Europe, including people that want to learn more about it.
– Independence –
We seek to be independent in pushing forward the debate on Europe without influence from external parties of any kind. Articles represent the personal views of the authors, and not those of organisations or companies, unless specifically indicated by the author.
– Disclaimer –
Please be aware that Shaping Europe is a volunteer based organisation with limited resources. The Publication Principles and the Writing Guidelines are an indication of how articles will be moderated. We preserve the right to decline or not place contributions.
These writing guidelines are complementary to the Publication Principles. These five tips can help you better structure and bring forward your argument. When in doubt: feel free to contact us.
- Do your best to be clear
Good writing is simple writing and less is more. Try to limit long sentences and paragraphs. Every sentence should have substance and contribute to the larger story of the article. General rule: be specific rather than general. Bear in mind that young people (14-18 years old) also read Shaping Europe, and the article should therefore be accessible to them.
- Read through your writing multiple times
Edit your work in order to make it as concise as possible. When in doubt about the added value: leave it out or ask Shaping Europe’s editorial team.
- Use everyday language
Try to avoid jargon or fancy words. When you use EU-jargon, assume the reader has only a basic knowledge of the EU and please explain the term clearly. Write like you are explaining it to a friend. Write as much as you can in a direct, conversational style.
- Catch the attention of the reader
Think about the title and the first sentence: how will this trigger the reader to read on? How will this article bring further the debate in the EU? Tip: catch the attention of the reader by referring to the news before telling the wider or deeper story.
- Double-check your work
Make sure to avoid spelling, grammar or punctuation mistakes. Try to follow standard British or Dutch spelling, depending on the preferred use of language. Revisit your grammar and sentence structure. When in doubt about the grammar or spelling: check for example the Oxford Dictionary.
Articles written in Dutch and/or English are welcome. Articles generally have between 1.000 and 1.500 words. Our articles can take many different forms: stories, opinions, essays, you name it.
All contributions follow a certain structure that we would like to uphold:
- Basic explanation of underlying topic backed up with objective facts and evidence
- giving every reader a basis to understand and follow the debate on the topic
- Core piece (analysis, opinion etc.)
- always conveying both sides of the coin: the challenge and constructive solution
How to join & what you can expect from us
To find out if your ideas are a fit for Shaping Europe, you can send an email with a short introduction of yourself, a summary of the essay and the proposed length to the editorial board. We will review each idea individually and respectfully and get back to you as soon as possible, usually within a week. We will try to prioritise articles that are urgent.