Thursday, 29 November 2012 19:46

Captain Europe to the rescue

"Mild mannered European civil servant by day, superhero, erm, at weekends and at other times on request..." He is Captain Europe, an anonymous employee of the European institutions whose mission is to lift European citizens' spirits during these hard times, while fighting the mortal enemies that are eurosceptics.

It all began back in 2008, when this civil servant assembled all the pieces of a suit that would become his part-time uniform for the next four years… and those to come. Carrying a European flag as his cape and the 12 golden stars of the European flag glued on the torso of a tight blue suit, he went to a costume party. It was the first day of many as a superhero.

"A colleague was particularly pleased with some work I did, so I sent him a picture of myself in costume and told him to think of me as his superhero. The upshot was that I was invited to take part in Europe Day," he explains. A successful experiment, Captain Europe became a fixed attraction in these celebrations, and his phenomenon went viral after, of course, coming up on Facebook and Twitter. "I got so many appearances that I have just had to order a new suit," he says.

Superpowers and Twitter

On the day that the EU won the Nobel Peace Prize, Captain Europe appeared on the Place du Luxembourg, the favourite square for celebrations in the bubble, passing on his enthusiasm to fellow eurofans as well as passers-by.

Published in Brussels Bubble
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 08:28

Creating the European prototype citizens?

When you think about institutional Brussels, you picture suited up adults carrying a suitcase on their way to work. Cheerful kids are harder to imagine in the grey bureaucratic bubble that many have built in their minds, but evidently, the so-called eurocrats have children too, and nurseries and schools also have a place in the city's institutional life.

The European School, or Schola Europaea, stands out among all the educational options provided to EU officials and workers because of its initiative to promote European citizenship and common values among the students. Created in Luxembourg in 1953, the project tried to bring together kids from different mother tongues and nationalities, an educational experiment supported by the Coal and Steel Community of the time. Today, there are 12 schools spread across Europe, all financed by member states, and all with the following words sealed in the foundation stones of each building:

"Educated side by side, untroubled from infancy by divisive prejudices, acquainted with all that is great and good in the different cultures, it will be borne in upon them as they mature that they belong together. Without ceasing to look to their own lands with love and pride, they will become in mind Europeans, schooled and ready to complete and consolidate the work of their fathers before them, to bring into being a united and thriving Europe."

Matilda Sevón, a 31-year-old Finn living in Brussels, arrived at the school when she was 15, after her father got a job in the Parliament. Today, looking back at the  statement, she doesn't feel it quite fits her situation. "I think of other Europeans as much closer to me than I did before going to the European School, but in some ways I have also become more fond of my own country," she says.

Published in Brussels Bubble
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