I’m curious as a French person, as a European, what’s the situation with these symbols? There’s a flag, an anthem, but what for? We have this hymn that no one sings, we have this flag that flies, but it’s not clear what it stands for. So what good are these symbols if we don’t use them?
François Brunagel, Head of Protocol at the European Parliament:
You must know that immediately after the election of the European Parliament in 1979, the parliament which represents the people of Europe…wanted it to have symbols, like all states have symbols, in other words a flag and an anthem.
There was a prolonged debate and finally in 1986 they decided to adopt not a new flag, but the flag that had been created in the early 1950’s by the Council of Europe, because there are not two Europes , just one single and equal Europe, at various stages of integration.
And then, later, they adopted the European anthem, ie the last movement of Beethoven’s 9th symphony, “Ode to Joy”
Then there are other symbols which were subsequently adopted, notably a currency for Europe – “United in diversity “, which was adopted in 2001 and I think with that, the citizen has something to recognize through these symbols. We have the European passport and for those who are fortunate enough to have it, also the euro.
On the 9th of May in Strasbourg, the European Parliament will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the flag and anthem, first by raising the flag of European colours in the presence of Eurocorps, the multi-national army of Europe, and then a concert during which the European anthem will be played. .
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