Poster wars breaking out across Europe

With Easter behind us it's now just a month until the European elections. Politicians across the continent are hoping to buck a trend: the ever-decreasing turnout down the years - just 43% in 2009.

In Britain, the UK Independence Party has certainly got the publicity it was hoping for from its new poster campaign - and expects it to encourage a higher turnout from its passionately Eurosceptic followers.

UKIP has been accused by some of scaremongering and racism. But some posters in Germany - where the visual campaign appears to be most energetic - are even more controversial.

Image caption The NPD has made its anti-immigrant message clear

The far-right NPD has been reissuing posters which have caused scandal for years, with a very clear and openly xenophobic message.

The caption "Have a safe flight home" accompanies an image of people of Middle Eastern appearance on a flying carpet.

Another says "resist!" with an image of a boxing glove. This, critics say, is openly advocating violence.

Others in Germany are more subtle and entertaining.

Image copyright Jon Worth
Image caption Pirate Party have used two well-known landmarks in their campaign

The Pirate Party has put up an image of the Manneken Pis - the famous Belgian statue of a boy peeing - with the caption "I can't do it when someone's watching" - alluding to their campaign against the surveillance state.

They are strongly in favour of freedom of movement across Europe - and put their point across with a powerful image of the Berlin Wall's razor wire - "Borders are so 80s".

As for the main centre-right Christian Democrats, they have simply added a line on Europe to their recent general election campaign posters, with the spotlight firmly still on their star Angela Merkel - despite the fact she's not running for Europe-wide office.

Image copyright Valentina Pop

As for the rest of Europe, Germany features again and again, though the message from both right and left tends to be negative.

Forza Italia - party of the disgraced, but still popular, Silvio Berlusconi - is keen to blame Germany for the recession. Their poster translates as: "More Italy, Less Germany. Austerity imposed by Germany brought us to recession. We have to change!"

Image copyright Forza Italia

And in Greece, the insurgent party of the left, Syriza, also features Angela Merkel (below left) - alongside Greek PM Antonis Samaras - with the text: "Our patience has run out - 25 May we vote and they go!"

Many countries' campaigns have yet to begin in earnest. But whatever the message, European institutions and politicians alike are trying to encourage people to go out and vote. The winner of a contest put on by the EU and the German government came up with an image (below right) which appears to acknowledge that the EU has flaws - but saying voters should be picky about which party they choose.

Image copyright Unknown

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