For two years, Brussels has grappled with a mystery that has taken on a sort of legendary aura – who is Captain Europe? Tonight, I may finally discover the answer.
The caped crusader – pictured right – appears suddenly at various events around Brussels, dressed head to toe in euro-blue spandex. When the EU won the Nobel Peace prize last month, he was spotted at Place du Luxembourg (known affectionately by Eurocrats as ‘Plux’) shortly afterwards waving an EU flag and working the crowd into a frenzy of eurenthusiasm. Wherever euro-spirits are down, he suddenly appears to save the day. His tweets are a consistent source of amusement.
But exactly who this unlikely superhero is remains a mystery – he has never removed his mask. In his social media profiles, he describes himself as a “mild mannered civil servant by day; superhero in my spare time.” My friends and I have conjectured that he is British or Irish, as running around Brussels in a spandex suit requires a degree of kooky eccentricity generally lacking on the continent. But does he work for one of the EU institutions? Is he a journalist? Is he José Manuel Barroso in a very clever (and very slimming) disguise? We are dying with curiosity.
So my friends invited this Brussels enigma, via his Facebook page, to a party this evening. He has accepted, though we have no idea at what hour he will appear. We are hoping to ply him with drink until he lets his guard down and we can hold him down and rip off his mask, Scooby-Doo style. Then he will shake his fist at us and yell “And I would’ve have gotten away with it to if it weren’t for you meddling kids!”
These days its hard to find many people who are very enthusiastic about the European project, so Captain Europe is a welcome bit of levity during what can otherwise be a rather disillusioning time. Perhaps, in the end, we don’t actually want to know who Captain Europe is. He is an idea, that little bit inside all of us that still believes in the European dream.
No, scratch that. I want to pull off the mask!