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Child with Euro
Child with Euro
Source: Audiovisual Library © European Commission 2005

Original Caption
"Little girl with a euro coin"

Picture Analysis
A little girl with a euro: photographs like this can be found in large numbers on the web-page of the Audio-Visual Library of the European Commission. What they are trying to say is clear at first glance and yet one is surprised that it is being said, or alternatively that it has to be said: the euro is something miraculous, a new and innocent currency that will accompany the little girl on her way through life? Rubbish! If that really is the function of the photo, to create a positive image for the common currency of 12 member states, then one must really ask oneself basically whether the commission considers the receivers of its messages to be so limited in intelligence.

But perhaps the intention of the heavy-handedness with which the currency is here presented should be read as a symptom, a symptom, for example, of the dubious wish to draw an added value in identity politics out of what were primarily economic reasons for the introduction of common currency. The example of the Federal Republic of Germany has shown that it is indeed possible to anchor national identity not in history but in economics (cf. Foucault 2004), but whether this can also hold true for a common currency appears under the present circumstances more than questionable: If, as William Blackstone wrote as early as 1765, "the coining of money is in all states the act of sovereign power" (quoted from Leach 2005), then with the currency union a wish came true but so far reality has not caught up with it.

© Demokratiezentrum Wien

About the Project

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

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