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Building site Parliament

Source: Entdeckungsreisen 4. Von der Zwischenzeit bis zur Gegenwart , OeBV Paedagogischer Verlag, Vienna 1998 (1st ed.), p. 103

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Picture Description
The European house is a metaphor that appears in daily reporting and communication, in caricatures and also in school books. The idea is to highlight the community aspect of the Europe project and show European integration as an open process that people are working on and whose end product remains open.

The illustration "Europe builds its Parliament" is taken from a 4th level Austrian school book (= end of basic elementary schooling) and with the help of the picture metaphor two things are to be shown: For one thing, the intention is to suggest that the European Parliament is an institution in which European citizens have a say. This can be seen among other things in the reference to the European elections. For another, the member countries, represented by the national symbols (flags), are shown as the builders of Europe. At that time - 1979 - there were 9 member countries: Belgium, Denmark, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands.

Picture Analysis
The European Integration Project is visually presented in numerous contexts with the metaphors "European House" or "Europe as Building Site": Europe as an open process on which building is still going on, whose end product is still open; the European Union as a house in which the European nations live peacefully under one roof. The political metaphor of the European House was used early in the European unification process, limited of course to West and Central Europe. This narrowed perspective was opened up by the efforts at unification towards the end of the Cold War. "Europe is our common house." With this programmatic sentence, Michail Gorbatchev called on the "European family" to find "their peace in the common European house". With that, the debate was intensified and discussed in all of Europe with reference to a common European history, who should take part in the organization and construction, and who ultimately should live there. The then foreign minister of Germany, Hans Dietrich Genscher, replied to Gorbatchev with the sentence: "We are ready to accept the concept of the common European house and to work together with the Soviet Union in order really to make it a common house." The Social Democrat, Willy Brandt, on the other hand reacted more cautiously: "The Soviets know very well that this opens up the question of how far the Soviet Union as a whole belongs to a European House."

The House Europe is a constantly recurring cipher in various contexts, in various forms, with various emphases - in daily reporting and communication, in caricatures, in school books. Neither the foundation nor the size, the equipment nor the tenants of the house Europe are fixed definitive quantities. On the other hand, written firmly into the vision of a common house is its protective function, the security that a common roof offers, as well as the cooperative work and the participation in decision-making involved in the common building on the house Europe. Who is inside and who has to stay outside is another ever recurring topos.

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