For weeks, a brightly colored circus top has stood on Rond-Point Schuman - at the very heart of Brussels' European district - prompting several jokes about the EU and its similiarity to a circus.
On Wednesday, the circus tent in Brussels' European district opened to the public and revealed an impressive array of multimedia images charting the history - and future - of Europe and the EU in an exhibition entitled "the images of Europe", jointly sponsored by the European Commission and the Dutch Presidency. The exhibition contains an 80 meter panoramic mural depicting world events on a lower level and European and EU events on an upper level. The display uses pictures of European figures, past and present, graphs, pictograms as well as sound recordings and a video projection of the latest European news.
The lower level spans global history, beginning with the Big Bang roughly 13.7 billion years ago and ending with the EU's row over the US-led invasion of Iraq. Describing the European leaders in favor of the action as "the axis of reflexive Atlanticism," the exhibition notes, "ignoring public opinion in their home countries, many of Europe's leaders follow America to war in Iraq." But perhaps the most interesting part of the exhibition is its projection of the EU's future. This slightly tongue-in-cheek section projects several highly ambitious and some downright impossible events in the next ten to 15 years. In 2010, according to the exhibition, the EU will expand to include Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and the Ukraine. Following this, in 2015, the EU will take in Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and change its name from the European Union to simply "The Union." The exhibition also sees the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) being phased out in 2012 after a massive "scrap the CAP" campaign by citizens. Also in this vision of the future, the EU will adopt Chinese as its official language in 2012.