Art show sees Europe as ‘new Roman Empire’

The European Union is poised to overtake America to become the premier superpower, according to an EU exhibition launched yesterday in the heart of Brussels.

The pop-art collage mounted in a tent outside the European Commission narrates 50 years of EU history and projects events into the future in an unusually frank display of European ambition.

Segments sketched across 80 yards of canvas predict that the 21st century will be the “European Century” as the EU pushes its borders deep into Eurasia, North Africa, and the Middle East and comes to dominate world affairs through its vast “legal and moral reach”.

Under the heading the “Roman Empire returns”, it says the EU will be renamed “The Union” once it grows to 50 states over the next three decades.

The United Nations headquarters will be moved to Gibraltar as the EU defends the international order against the “American onslaught”.

The euro will break the “overbearing monopoly of the dollar” by 2010 as China and India switch their reserves to punish America for its “stratospheric deficit”.

Casting the United States as the villain of modern times, it says: “The lonely superpower can bribe, bully or impose its will almost anywhere in the world, but when its back is turned, its policy is weakened.”

Entitled “The Image of Europe”, the display is not a formal expression of EU policy but it captures views that can be heard every day in the corridors and canteens of the Union’s institutions.

The exhibit was co-ordinated by the European Commission and sponsored by the European Council. The EU’s Dutch presidency said yesterday it was designed to narrow Europe’s “iconographic deficit” by conjuring up forceful images.