Homeless man moves into European Parliament

EUP_23webThe European Parliament is about to get a new member. Today, Tuesday 8 April, the ‘homeless’ sculpture Man on a Bench[1] moves into Parliament and will stay there permanently.

Behind the presentation of the sculpture – which is a gift from the Danish parliament (Folketinget) – are the renowned artist Jens Galschiøt, the Danish MEP Britta Thomsen and the Danish NGO projekt UDENFOR (project OUTSIDE).

“We want to put homelessness on the European political agenda. Not just with a single event but with a permanent display. This sculpture will remind the politicians that a group of people are in need of our help,” said Britta Thomsen.

Coming back home

The artist Jens Galschiøt created the sculpture for an exhibition in the European Parliament in 2010. He has a clear ambition with his work.

“I have donated Man on a Bench because I want to remind the European Parliamentarians about their responsibility to all the people not fitting perfectly into society.  Very few MEPs know people who live without a roof and it is not an easy task to understand their situation and needs. I want the politicians and the lobbyists to see the sculpture in their daily life, and to think about what they can do in their law-making, to help those neglected by society.”

The 2010 exhibition was set up by the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless (FEANTSA) for the European-wide Campaign ‘Ending Homelessness is Possible’.[2] projekt UDENFOR is a member of FEANTSA, and its Managing Director Ninna Hoegh is satisfied with the new gift to the European Parliament.

“The fact that a homeless person – even if only a sculpture – now gets a permanent place in the European Parliament will help keep up awareness on preventing homelessness across borders. That is very important because many of the problems we see at street-level in the European cities call for pre-emptive, international measures,” she said.

FEANTSA Director Freek Spinnewijn said: “This sculpture should be a reminder of the Parliament’s commitment to a strong role for the EU in tackling homelessness. On 16January 2014, the Parliament adopted a Resolution calling for an EU homelessness strategy. We hope that, after the elections next month, the new Parliament will continue its active engagement to help make this a reality.”

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Category: Arts, Culture, EU, Frontpage, Homeless, Lifestyle, Magazine

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