ever since its founding the european union has been a controversial political project. the economic, political, and social crises that have erupted across the continent in the past five years have only intensified the existing conflicts. consequently the upcoming elections for the european parliament on may 25 will manifest a significant moment for the future of the eu and the region as a whole.

likewise the visual vocabulary of street artists all over europe has been influenced by the symbolic meaning of the eu. yellow stars on azure blue, euro signs, and faces of political figures line city walls all over the continent – particularly in the countries that have been hit hardest by the crisis and the implementation of harsh austerity measures.

so in honour of the occasion, here’s a little selection of critical representations of europe and eu policies in street art.

'nevermind democracy here is the european union' sticker in berlin. from small stickers to large murals - street artists all over europe use their cities walls to express their disadffection for the eu.

‘nevermind democracy here is the european union’ sticker in berlin.
from small stickers to large murals – street artists all over europe use their cities’ walls to express their disaffection for the eu.

'european greetings' mural in berlin by rallito-x.

‘european greetings’ mural in berlin by rallito-x.
the idea of europe as a (bureaucratic) monster/leviathan has a long tradition.

'reaching for the stars' mural by bleeps in athens. particularly the crisis-ridden countries of southern europe see the eu as a distant and unattainable political dream/nightmare.

‘reaching for the stars’ mural by bleeps in athens.
particularly the crisis-ridden countries of southern europe see the eu as a distant and unattainable political chimera.

‘boo from the eu’ mural by ath1281.

mural by blu in thessaloniki the european economic crisis dominates contemporary representations of the eu. photo via blublu.org

mural by blu in thessaloniki.
the european economic crisis dominates contemporary representations of the eu.
photo via blublu.org.

stencil by french artist stra in lisbon. photo via facebook.com/STRAone

stencil by french artist stra in lisbon.
photo via facebook.com/STRAone

stencil in athens by absent.

stencil in athens by absent.
photo via ekosystem.org.

'casino royale' mural at the building site of the new ecb headquarters in frankfurt/main. the critique of the european crisis regime is also often projected on political figures involved, in this case maro draghi and angela merkel.

‘casino royale’ mural at the building site of the new ecb headquarters in frankfurt/main.
the critique of the european crisis regime is also often projected on political figures involved, in this case maro draghi and angela merkel.

'no future' pasteup by scarr in athens. judging from her frequent appearance it is safe to claim that german pm angela merkel is indeed considered the face of the crisis and austerity.

‘no future’ pasteup by scarr in athens.
judging from her frequent appearance it is safe to claim that german pm angela merkel is indeed considered the face of the crisis and austerity.

mural by blu on a eu border wall in morocco. some street artists deal more explicitly with the idea of fortress europe and the eu's failures to properly deal with refugees seeking a better life at its shores.

mural by blu on a eu border wall in morocco.
some street artists deal more explicitly with the idea of fortress europe and the eu’s failures to properly deal with refugees seeking a better life at its shores.
photos via blublu.org.

"fortress europa" stencil in graz. photo via https://flic.kr/p/59pf1Y

“fortress europa” stencil in graz.
photo via https://flic.kr/p/59pf1Y

'no euro, no vision' mural in athens by bleeps.

‘no euro, no vision’ mural in athens by bleeps.