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European Parliament adopts European Symbols

European flag, motto and anthem have been added to the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament

, by Florent Banfi

All the versions of this article: [English] [français] [italiano]

During its session of October 8, the European Parliament has recognized the motto, anthem and flag to be European symbols. This vote occurs while the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty has faced a negative ballot in Ireland and no solution has been found until now. The Treaty, which included most of the content of the Constitution, put aside the symbols, not to be presented as too political. With 503 votes in favour, 96 against and 15 abstentions, the European Parliament has showed that the European Union should strengthen its political dimension and go in the direction of a European federation.

authors

  • Member of the Executive Bureau of UEF France. Former member of the executive bureau of JEF Europe

The modifications of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament added the following to its Rules of Procedure:

The symbols of the Union

1. Parliament shall recognise and espouse the following symbols of the Union: the flag showing a circle of twelve golden stars on a blue background; the anthem based on the “Ode to Joy” from the Ninth Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven; the motto ’United in diversity’.

2. Parliament shall celebrate Europe Day on 9 May.

3. The flag shall be flown at all Parliament premises and on the occasion of official events. The flag shall be used in each meeting room of the Parliament.

4. The anthem shall be performed at the opening of each constitutive sitting and at other solemn sittings, notably to welcome heads of State or government or to greet new Members following enlargements.

5. The motto shall be reproduced on Parliament’s official documents.

6. The Bureau shall examine further use of the symbols within the Parliament. The Bureau shall lay down detailed provisions for the implementation of this Rule.

If the recognition of the motto, flag and anthem is positive, we could imagine that the 9th of May becomes a European feast in all 27 countries in future.

Symbols and Lisbon Treaty

The vote of the European Parliament is very significant as it demonstrates that nationalists have not won, even if the Irish ballot on the Lisbon Treaty has been negative. The courage of the European Parliament proves that it remains the only European institution which is taking political actions and is not waiting for a solution to the current crisis.

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Nevertheless, some parliamentarians have attacked the symbols, stating that they "will damage your national sovereignty and the right to control your own destiny”, seeking to maintain the old myth of national sovereignty. Hopefully, most of the MEPs understand the need for symbols in a period when the European Union is facing a problem of recognition from the European citizens.

I want my Flag Back!!!

But the Young European Federalists (JEF - Europe) haven’t waited for the vote of the European Parliament to support the need for symbols and while the Lisbon Treaty was ratified, they called upon the European citizens to show up the European symbols.

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Although the Reform Treaty does bring institutional advancements for the efficient functioning of the European Union, the role of the citizens was sidelined and the symbols of European unity have been crushed.

Europe still retains its symbols, but they have been purposefully taken out of the Reform Treaty. JEF condemned the lack of leadership of the European leaders who kept giving in to eurosceptic voices and fears. JEF asked that European citizens become central to the construction of Europe and that European symbols that unite our peoples are made visible! Were European leaders so afraid of an anthem and a flag?!!

As Margaret Thatcher demanded her money back in 1979, the European citizens demanded their flag back!!! They had to wait for October 8 to be satisfied…

The European Parliament has taken an important initiative less than one year before its re-election because, as Andrew Duff stated, “the symbols represent our dignified values of peace and solidarity”, what the European project has been built for.

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