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Concepts

The question, "What is Europe?" has always given rise to cultural-historical discussions on the conception of a common EU-European area. Such concepts can be traced back to antiquity.

After the Second World War the concept of securing peace created the momentum in Europe for founding the European Integration Project. The idea was that, given close economic and political involvement, war-like conflicts would no longer be possible between states. This concept arose out of historical experiences with warring confrontations in the European area. To the generations of the war and the post-war, the concept of a united Europe gave clear shape to the felt need to found a lasting and stable new order after the experiences of the Second World War. Or, as EU-Commissioner Guenther Verheugen puts it: "For my generation Europe means the end of a time of suffering and the beginning of a new hope. For us it is easy to be passionately European. Europe equals peace - that for me is a sum that simply adds up." (From a speech of Verheugen, given in Breslau on December 1, 2003, Source: europa.eu.int)

Another important concept for the development of the European Integration Project is presented by the four freedoms: Free movement of persons, free movement of services, free movement of goods and free movement of capital, important pillars of the common European Single Market, underline the conception of the EU as economic alliance.

In the face of the constantly advancing expansion of the EU-European area, the diversity of nations, language and cultures became ever greater in this area. For example, the EU encompasses at present more than 20 official languages (2007: 23 official languages). The EU has responded to the differences between the European states and regions with the motto, "United in diversity": The concept behind this is that the dissimilarities of the member states are not an obstacle but an enrichment for the European Integration Project, whose members despite their differences have committed themselves to common objectives.

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The Picture Atlas is an outcome of the project ICONCLASH. Collective Icons and Democratic Governance in Europe

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