EUROPEAN IDENTITY ARCHIVE

With the introduction of a digital currency in 1999, and later the physical currency in 2002 the EU became a powerful monetary and political union.
At the same time it manifested certain symbols that are synonymous with the EU’s visual identity. The one of which is the symbol of the shared currency itself, the euro. Since it’s introduction it’s had an exchange with the private sector as a symbol of a set of values that are shared between the two. Among others, these values are technological innovation, free trade, freedom of the individual, innovation, prosperity, commerce and economic power.
As such the € sign has become a brand synonymous not only with the values of its originator, but also the ones associated with whom that takes authorship/ownership of the sign.
In it’s pursuit of creating a visual shared identity, the EU also draws heavily on it’s flag. It’s 12 yellow stars do not relate to the number of member states, but is supposed to symbolize perfection and unity.

Since a flag has strong association to that of a nation state, the flag is also widely used when referencing the EU.
Further, it is depicted on the euro, connecting the single market of the EU to it’s pursuit of a shared feeling of identity.
As for the exchange with the private sector, it is a positively perceived exchange of symbolism. When the private sector uses the symbols associated with the EU to market or brand their products, the EU symbols merge with the product, this way the symbols become part of the daily consumption of products and their visual representation, which helps build the EU’s identity. As for the benefits for the private sector, the symbols of the EU are supposedly connected to stability, trustworthiness and prosperity, and as such the products that carry these symbols will communicate the same.
While the EU seeks to bring upon a positive view of itself, a positive brand so to say, the scale of its actions and impact also makes the perception of its brand a complex matter.

One recent example of the complexity of the EU’s identity is its relationship to Greece. With the austerity imposed on Greece by the EU, the individual suffering under such austerity, might start to see the brand of EU as something which is negatively loaded. Such negativity connected to the identity of the EU we also saw with the UK’s decision to leave the EU. As for nations states association with the EU, some have less of a choice in those matter. Authorship/ownership of it’s symbols is also imposed on nation states who, because of neo-colonialism, either have the euro as the currency in use, or have their economy pegged to the rate of the euro. Because of the conditions of western imperialism, such nation states might not now have the capacity to have their own individual economies. Therefore in effect the liberal EU is keeping foreign nation states from their sovereignty through economic dominance.