With a small team of five reporters and an editor in Brussels, plus an array of freelance reporters across the EU’s 27 member states, and with joint investigations with fellow publishers, EUobserver has always strived to dig deeper than the rest, step back from minute-by-minute breaking news, and prioritise original and investigative reporting.
In the past couple of years, EUobserver has taken the decision to focus – by and large – on a handful of the key, even existential, issues facing the EU: climate change (we now have two-full time environment reporters), migration, rule of law and disinformation, and foreign relations (particularly with Russia, China, and – on the EU border itself – Belarus.)
Plus, of course, Covid-19, which sprang as if out of nowhere in 2020, was a constant on the news agenda in 2021, and, tragically, does not look like disappearing anytime soon in 2022.
“EUobserver has, like many newspapers, seen a huge spike of readership during the lockdown in March to May 2020. We thought we would never be able to match that readership in 2021. But we did. As a matter of fact, our readership doubled in the last two years, something we are – of course – happy about,” says editor-in-chief Koert Debeuf.
“In those last two years, we have also seen a surge of law cases against us. These cases are also called SLAPP, or strategic lawsuits against public participation, meant to frighten news outlets, but also put a burden on their work. In 2021 we won a lawsuit against the FlyingGroup. We have now also been sued by the Lukashenko family, more specifically by a Lukashenko-linked firm in order to stop our investigations into their activities. We will not let this happen and will continue looking for the truth.”
Below are our unofficial ‘Top 10’ stories of 2021 – not necessarily the most-read or most-clicked on (deliberately so, as the vagaries of viral hits on the internet are not always reflective of the merits of individual stories) but a selection that shows the width, scope, and depth of our reporting.
Whilst we are proud of all our reporting, a special mention must go to the unique ‘on the spot’ reportage of Nikolai Nielsen this summer, when the ‘spot’ in question was an NGO search-and-rescue vessel at sea in the Mediterranean, pulling hundreds of would-be refugees and migrants to safety. A representative story is included below, but see here for the full “On board with SOS Méditerranée” series.
We would also like to thank those of you who already do so for supporting EUobserver and independent journalism.
If have not already joined the EUobserver club, please consider signing up by clicking here.
In the meantime, please enjoy and keep reading in 2022 to see what happens next.