If we want to build a cohesive Europe, it pays to make it look fun and exciting. Is it time to sex up the EU?by Andreas Kaplan / January 16, 2018 / Leave a comment
How to render the EU sexy? Many rather unsuccessful attempts have been made. The Young Europeans of Isère, a French department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, conducted a campaign with the theme “Europe is sexy” to increase voter turnout in the 2014 European elections. In 2017, the German TV channel Tele5 launched its “Europe ist geil” campaign which, albeit in a more colloquial way, also translates as “Europe is sexy.”
Silvana Koch-Mehrin, former MEP, went even further and acted as columnist in the German erotic magazine Praline explaining the EU to its mainly male adult (18+) readers. The Party of European Socialists tried something similar with the election spot “Let’s make Europe vibrate,” featuring a couple sexually “vibrating.” Finally, Herman Van Rompuy, European Council President AD, set his sights on “Revitalizing the European Dream” and confirmed that Europe is still sexy.
All these initiatives provoked negative reactions. Few were appreciative in nature; many were just indifferent.
Looking at this, one could draw the conclusion that the EU and “sexy” do not go well together. When mentally combining “sexiness” with the European Union, people probably think more of EU-regulated condom sizes (which, by the way, is a myth) than of the glamour and excitement that the word typically connotes.
One could obviously argue that it is acceptable for the EU to be dull as long as it delivers the required outcomes. However, the recent increase in nationalistic tendencies across many EU member states shows a need to foster a European spirit—one which will continue to break down barriers and forge a real European identity amongst its more than half a billion citizens.
This raises the question: why can some nations (even Germany) be sexy, but the European Union is convicted to dullness?
People are sexy
People who represent a certain country can make that nation sexy. Research has shown that better looking politicians obtain higher votes and interest, especially in low-information elections. Handsome Prime Ministers or Presidents like Justin Trudeau or Emmanuel Macron definitely give sex appeal to their respective nations. Powerful people are also sexy, and the fact that Angela Merkel was elected to the most powerful woman in the 2017 Forbes list…