Russell Foster


Since the inception of the European Coal and Steel Community in the late 1940s, leaders of the European Union have sought a common identity which transcends nation-states. Recent events such as Euromaidan, Brexit, and an ongoing shift towards eurosceptic populism in the EU are focusing attention on this ‘Gospel of Jacques Delors’ and how a “European identity” is expressed. Significant in studies of Europeanness is the role of symbols that express a myth of Europe. Manifestations of this myth have looked backwards to an imagined teleology of European unity in which all Europeans were united regardless of geopolitical divisions, particularly since the dissolution of the Soviet bloc. However, events in Ukraine have demonstrated not only public rejections of the myth of European unity, but also the use of the EU’s symbolism to construct an ‘alter-Europe’ defined by opposition to the EU. This overt use of iconography and iconoclasm to express political identities and affiliations challenges traditional interpretations of how the EU is received by its neighbours, and illustrates that there are multiple, competing versions of “Europe”.


Article Keywords

EU Identity, Ukraine, Russia, Iconography

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