OPINION

‘Drawing Europe’: 28 leading cartoonists comment

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In a project titled “Drawing Europe” and spearheaded by Danish newspaper Politiken, 28 cartoonists from the European Union’s 28 member-states – including Kathimerini’s Ilias Makris – have been invited to comment on how they view the EU today, particularly in light of Britain’s decision to leave the bloc and ahead of an informal summit in Bratislava on Friday.

The aim of this pan-European media initiative is to “demonstrate the kind of community, solidarity and cooperation that EU leaders find it difficult to maintain and develop at the moment,” says Politiken editor-in-chief Christian Jensen.

“We need humor and enthusiasm at a time when narratives of decline about the EU abound, and when nationalism, populism and xenophobia are subverting the dream of a common and peaceful Europe,” Jensen adds.

Here we present their work for the Politiken project, along with a comment to the Danish paper by the artists on their contribution.

Spain: Ricardo & Julio Rey from El Mundo

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“We had this idea of doing something with the English lion. Proud and majestic. It seemed that the lion had been misled by irresponsible politicians and lured into voting about something they did not know the nature of.”

Slovakia: Mandor from SME newspaper

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“I was sketching ideas on Brexit cartoons, and checked the time. I have a Monty Python’s ‘Ministry of Silly Walks’-styled clock on the wall. Immediately, this picture appeared in my head.”

Belgium: Marec from Het Nieuwsblad

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“I envisioned that the EU was losing Queen Elizabeth and replacing her with the European Queen Angela. She is a strong symbol of the Europe that now has to move on after Brexit.”

Slovenia: Ciril Horjak from Vecer

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“I read the story about Icarus to my son the night that the British went to the polls. As the results came in, it struck me that the story of Icarus is the story of Europe.”

Portugal: Christiano Salgado from Expresso

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“I see us slowly shutting ourselves off. We are building borders at a time when we should stand united. The idea of a borderless and open Europe is under threat.”

Croatia: Nik Titanik from 24sata

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“I come from a small country, and for us it can seem dramatic when the big countries pull away. And I wanted to poke fun at the British hypocrisy.”

Estonia: Urmas Nemvalts from Postimees

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“It may turn out that this ‘liberation’ will not be as neat and happy as the British had hoped for.”

Lithuania: Rimas Pocius from Delfi.lt news site

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“We decided to focus on immigration, which is one of the main issues under discussion here in Lithuania… This leaves us with questions on how Brexit will impact those people. Not only plumbers and builders are going to the UK. We are also talking about wealthy tourists, winemakers, chefs and artists.”

Luxembourg: Florin Balaban from Luxemburger Wort

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“To me, this was madness. Brexit could not happen. That is what I thought, at least. We live in a world where we should be moving closer to each other, but then the opposite happens.”

Netherlands: Bas van der Schot from Volkskrant

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“To me, Europe is an abstract ideal. And group photos of the European politicians after another crisis summit are the visual representations of Europe nowadays.”

Czech Republic: Stepan Mares for Reflex

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“The fire spreads – as do doubts about the European idea after the Brexit vote. Germany will always be one of the leaders of Europe, because of its size and economic power. Smaller countries like us can envy it, disagree with that – but that is probably all we can do.”

Malta: Sebastian Tanti Burlo from Times of Malta

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“Europe is fat, she is not the beauty she once was. Her people have become lethargic and apathetic, resembling sausages more than the people they were.”

Italy: Maria Corte from Ilsole24ore

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“In the image, the abstract idea of a city in the dark which, only through the awakening of its citizens’ consciousness, of their homes’ lights through the windows, is capable of projecting an image of unity and singularity and, in this way, defining a common project.”

Germany: Jochen Schievink from Die Zeit

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“The illustration was made under the impression that more and more countries are trying to fillet the EU into pieces to get the best parts out of it – even if they risk to kill the whole thing.”

France: Plantu from Le Monde

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“Despite our respective rulers’ specific problems, I wanted to draw Princess Europe with the traits of the woman of our dreams. The mistakes of the 28 will not prevent me from having a true desire for Europe.”

Denmark: Philip Ytournel from Politiken

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“We are all in this together. And it seems foolish to isolate oneself. This is not just about the UK. I am criticizing isolationism as such.”

Hungary: Marabu from Nepszabadsag

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“Nowadays they talk too much about the problems of the European Union – and drawing angry cartoons on troubles is a simple job. I think it is a very important mission to make optimistic cartoons.”

Ireland: Martyn Turner from The Irish Times

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“The future of Europe … well it will, of course, be riven with misunderstanding and confusion… They ain’t sheep. They’re lemmings, creatures who mythically commit suicide from time to time by jumping off a cliff.”

Finland: Ville Tietavainen from Helsingin Sanomat

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“I wanted to show a European wholeness that is recognizable, but clearly inoperative because it is a cubist jumble.”

Austria: Michael Pammesberger from Kurier

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“The cartoon originated from the Brexit party. David, Boris and Nigel had all had too much to drink. Rock’n’roll! …And then things got a bit out of control.”

Bulgaria: Yavor Popov from Capital

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“Political, economic, diplomatic relations, built with lots of efforts for 43 years, will now have to be unraveled in the most complicated and expensive divorce in the world.”

Poland: Tomek Bochenski from Polska Press Grupa

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“This invisible hand of Brexit may lead to the ‘erasing’ of still more countries from the EU structures.”

Romania: Jup (Lucian Amarii) from Ziarul de Lasi

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“Some of the Brexit politicians act now like they know exactly what they are doing, but in reality they are confused and don’t know what they should do next.”

Sweden: Magnus Bard from Dagens Nyheter

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“The British self-image is one of a reborn Nelson at Trafalgar. And now they are left to fight the giants on their own.”

Latvia: Zemgus Zaharans from Diena

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“I saw the British decision to take the road to Brexit – which is a dead-end – as a sign that the British pound is likely to lose some weight.”

Cyprus: Thanasis Papaspyropoulos from Politis

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“I see Europe as it should be and Europe as it is. Blind, apprehensive, and reactionary… We need to go back to the roots of the original European project. It was beautiful and simple, but also fragile.”

Greece: Ilias Makris from Kathimerini

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“The British voters’ decision to leave the EU was also an expression of their wish to punish the EU. It reminded me of the joke about the man who cuts off his own penis to punish his wife.”

UK: Noma Bar from The Guardian

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“You should not underestimate how many Brits are deeply sad that we now have to learn how to make it on our own. And there is nobody to blame but ourselves.”

Politiken