Saturday

19th Jan 2019

Euro sign sculptures in Frankfurt face uncertain future

  • The euro sculpture could be auctioned off (Photo: Valentina Pop)

The two large blue and yellow euro sign sculptures, one located outside the European Central Bank in Frankfurt and another recently taken down by Frankfurt Airport, are facing uncertain futures.

German artist Ottmar Hörl made them both in 2001. The sculptures, in his view, would be understood as symbols of a unified euro at a time when the currency was still in its infancy.

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But one evening last week, the smaller of the two sculptures, was quietly removed by the Frankfurt Airport authorities. The 5-metre piece had stood for around 11 years near a ‘Sky line’ transport ramp linking the airport terminals.

The airport’s spokesman Robert A. Payne told this website that the sculpture had been removed for safety issues and to open up space for the eventual expansion in 2013 of the airport’s terminal 3.

The electrical display panels that light up the sculpture at night no longer function properly and no longer adhere to Germany safety code norms, said Payne.

“We don’t have at the moment a particular spot where we could install it. We first have to see the particular repairs and the costs but at the moment its been dismantled for safety reasons, ” said Payne.

The sculpture is now in a nearby storage area.

Selling the euro sign, an option

Meanwhile, the euro sculpture outside the 40-storey-high skyscraper of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt could be auctioned off.

The Frankfurter Kultur Komitee, founded in 2002 with the aim of encouraging cultural awareness through “corporate citizenship”, owns the 15-metre tall euro sculpture.

Its chair, Professor Manfred Pohl, told EUobserver that the sculpture could go to auction should the ECB and the city of Frankfurt no longer want it. Pohl said the piece is worth some €1.5 million in its current state.

The ECB plans on moving into a new double-towered skyscraper sometime in 2014 but the sculpture may either be left behind, moved to the new location, or sold altogether.

Pohl said he hopes a final decision will be made within the coming weeks but that the ECB “is not very clear at the moment”. The ECB, says Pohl, told him they will make a decision when they move into their new office space.

“My preferred opinion is that we bring the sculpture in front of the new European Central Bank building,” said Pohl.

Pohl noted the city of Frankfurt may also want to keep the sculpture at its present location.

A spokesperson for the ECB said the sculpture’s fate lies with the culture committee and not with the bank.

Investigation

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The European Central Bank is an important firefighter in the euro-crisis. But increasingly divergent eurozone economies are limiting the effects of its policies and democratic scrutiny remains an issue.

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The EU parliament's internal chiefs have so far refused to introduce mandatory training on dealing with sexual harassment. MEPs have now asked for it again.

Centre-right MEPs want transparency vote to be secret

A number of centre-right MEPs are pushing for a secret ballot on a plenary vote that would make EU lawmakers more transparent and accountable to the public - in a move described as "absurd" by Transparency International.

Lead MEP on Morocco resigns as her report passes

MEPs ultimately adopted a controversial report on an EU trade deal with Morocco - despite the sudden resignation by French liberal Patricia Lalonde as the file's rapporteur only moments beforehand. Her departure follows an EUobserver investigation into lobbying by Morocco.

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