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Europe in Chaos

Europe in Chaos

  • Premiered: 
    March 28, 2019
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Smithsonian
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Current Events
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Plot Synopsis

EUROPE IN CHAOS, which comes from notable documentary filmmaker Norma Percy, is a two-part special that goes behind the scenes with firsthand accounts of Europe's tumultuous last decade and its impact around the globe. The European Union has been beset by a series of comings and goings over the last few years, each triggering its own brand of crisis. The civil war in Syria created the biggest wave of refugees to hit Europe since World War II, sparking contested debates on how to divvy up tens of thousands of refugees across E.U. countries. Meanwhile, in the U.K., Britain's vote in favor of Brexit added to the turmoil. Smithsonian Channel debuted both installments of this program on Thursday, March 28, 2019 from 8-10pm ET/PT:

"Brexit" (8pm): On the evening of June 23, 2016, Prime Minister David Cameron and his inner circle gathered at 10 Downing Street to witness a turning point in British history. Nearly 52% of the people of the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, a decision that effectively ended Cameron's political career and left the world wondering what happens next. This is the inside account of Brexit, from the British conservatives demanding a referendum to the team of European presidents and prime ministers scrambling to prevent the E.U. from being torn apart. For the first time on television, former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs William Hague, former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg recreate the internal arguments that led to Cameron's fateful decision. The special also reveals insider accounts from the UK's allies in the EU, who watched with dismay and then alarm as the political storm in Britain forced them into an impossible choice: to abandon fundamental principles of their Union or lose a key member forever.

"Migration Crisis" (9pm): A boat overcrowded with men, women, and children fleeing Africa sinks near Italy, killing over 800 people in April 2015. The tragedy is the flashpoint of a long-running problem. The number of migrants and asylum seekers coming to European shores had been growing, and the figures were about to skyrocket, fueled by the civil war in Syria. This is the inside story of Europe's migration explosion and its impact across the globe, told by presidents, prime ministers, and other leaders of the continent working behind the scenes to solve the crisis. Again the EU faced a threat that challenged a core conviction -- the principle of open borders within the Union -- against the intractable political problem of a flood of migrants, with no end in sight. The crisis exposes a sharp division between East and West, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others offering sanctuary while Eastern European countries argue fiercely to stem the tide and send migrants back.

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Brook Lapping Productions
  • Produced by Smithsonian Networks