Never say Banana to a Chiquita, we all know this one. But do you know what the Blue Banana is?
Why is the Banana Blue?
It is what they say the true heart of Europe. It was in 1989 that Reclus, a group of French geographers managed by Roger Brunet, launched the concept. They wanted to delineate the economically most developed region within Europe, but the catchy name was not his invention. The name was added by the media: the banana shape was pointed out at a press-conference by Jacques Chérèque, a government minister; the color was then given to it by an artist at the Nouvel Observateur, in an article by Josette Alia three days later which baptised 'the banane bleue'. The color was later interpreted as a reference to the blue on the European flag, or to the blue collars of the factory workers’ uniforms.
The ‘blue banana’ became popular currency among economists, Europhiles, and other commentators and the region remains a major economic center. As a concept, the Blue Banana’s main asset is that it allows those involved to transcend the narrow national boundaries that, decades after the start of European integration, still define the mental space inhabited by most European citizens. The Blue Banana makes it easier to see Europe’s economic, demographic, cultural and political evolutions in a wider, regional framework. But will the Citizens of the Blue Banana ever unite and rise up to fight for a common cause? Or is the Blue Banana as moveable as that Heart of Europe itself?