European Symbols and Values
The European Convention proposed in Article IV-1 of its draft Constitution for Europe the following European Symbols for the European Union: the flag, the anthem, the motto, the single currency, euro and Europe Day, May 9.
- The European Flag is twelve golden stars in a circle on a blue background. The number of twelve stars is fixed, with no political connotations and symbolises unity and perfection.
It was initially used by the Council of Europe in 1955, and since 1985 it is recognised by all Member States as the emblem of the European Union. Since 1986, it is used by all European institutions.
- In 1972 the Council of Europe has decided that Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” from his 9th Symphony to become its anthem. In 1985, it was adopted by all Member States as the official anthem of the European Union.
Due to the large number of languages used in the European Union the anthem is purely instrumental. “Ode to Joy” was composed on Friedrich von Schiller’s text, which express the belief that all men can become brothers. Although the anthem has no words, the music conveys the same ideas of freedom, peace, and unity.
- The motto of the European Union is „In varietate concordia” (Latin for “United in diversity”). It was adopted in 2000 after the proposals make by school people over the internet. The motto originally in Latin will soon be replaced by the English “United in diversity” which has been written into the draft Constitution for Europe.
In a continent with so many different traditions and languages, the motto suggests the cooperation among the people of Europe by promoting unity and preserving diversity.
- The EURO (symbol €, banking code EUR) is the single currency of 17 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain – collectively known as the eurozone) of the 27 member states, and some outside EU (Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City).
The euro was established by the provisions in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty on European Union that was used to establish an economic and monetary union.
The euro was introduced in 1999 as an accounting currency, and since 2002 was launched as physical coins and banknotes.
With euro, the european citizens have a concrete symbol of their belonging to a same community.
- Each 9 May, Europe Day is celebrated in every Member State of the European Union. In 1950, on this day, the first step was made toward the creation of what today we known as European Union. On the 9th of May 1950, in Paris, Robert Schuman, then foreign minister of France, proposed the creation of a organised Europe, indispensable to maintain peace. This proposal, known as the <Schuman declaration> is considered to be the beginning of the creation of European Union. In 1985 at the Milan Summit, EU leaders decided to celebrate 9 May as “Europe Day”.
Europe Day is the occasion for activities and festivities that bring Europe closer to its citizens and peoples from different member states closer to one another.
Article I-1 of the draft Constitution for Europe says: “The Union shall be open to all European States which respect its values and are committed to promoting them together”.
Article I-2 of the draft Constitution for Europe highlights Union’s values: “The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail”.
European Union means peace, prosperity and protection – a result due to respecting common values of the Member States.