chapter  4
First among equals
Pages 38

In a Europe emerging from the ashes of an evil unifi cation, two political pioneers of integration spoke the above words. Jacques Camille Paris, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, in a confi dential memo of 16 July 1951 stresses the need for the emerging community to adopt a fl ag. And in a similar memo to the forerunner of today’s European Parliament, Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, President of the Pan-European Movement, calls for a single recognisable emblem, alongside the fl ag, to visually represent the not-too-distant ancestor of today’s European Union. This emblem, it was envisaged, would act as a rallying point to connect western Europeans just as Soviet symbols did for their eastern counterparts. History is replete with grim coincidences, and it is ironic that the European community chose to connect its people through symbols: symbols submitted to competitions, in exactly the same way that the National Socialists and the Communist Party – with their swastikas, Reichsadler , 1 stars, and hammers and sickles 2 – had symbolised their own peoples’ pretensions of imperium through mass public iconography.