What’s in an EU anthem?

Today, The Telegraph reported that Herman Van Rompuy, current Prime Minister of Belgium and “the new front-runner to be the first EU President,” is looking to institute a European anthem. Van Rompuy could pull ideas from the EU’s website, which nobly proclaims its aims as “Peace, prosperity and freedom for its 498 million citizens — ...

576855_091116_EUanthem5.jpg
576855_091116_EUanthem5.jpg

Today, The Telegraph reported that Herman Van Rompuy, current Prime Minister of Belgium and "the new front-runner to be the first EU President," is looking to institute a European anthem. Van Rompuy could pull ideas from the EU's website, which nobly proclaims its aims as "Peace, prosperity and freedom for its 498 million citizens -- in a fairer, safer world." Or he might look to the Treaty of Lisbon; "Drawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, from which have developed the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law." These are the sorts of airy proclamations that are grist for a modern-day anthem.

But Van Rompuy may have to edit some member-states' anthems if he wants harmony across the Union. Germany already moved in the right direction, having dropped the infamous "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles/Über alles in der Welt," a couplet that doesn't quite smack of an all-for-one ethos. 

On the other hand, France's anthem could be confused with Glenn Beck's take on international law, saying, "What! These foreign cohorts! They would make laws in our courts!"

Today, The Telegraph reported that Herman Van Rompuy, current Prime Minister of Belgium and “the new front-runner to be the first EU President,” is looking to institute a European anthem. Van Rompuy could pull ideas from the EU’s website, which nobly proclaims its aims as “Peace, prosperity and freedom for its 498 million citizens — in a fairer, safer world.” Or he might look to the Treaty of Lisbon; “Drawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, from which have developed the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law.” These are the sorts of airy proclamations that are grist for a modern-day anthem.

But Van Rompuy may have to edit some member-states’ anthems if he wants harmony across the Union. Germany already moved in the right direction, having dropped the infamous “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles/Über alles in der Welt,” a couplet that doesn’t quite smack of an all-for-one ethos. 

On the other hand, France‘s anthem could be confused with Glenn Beck‘s take on international law, saying, “What! These foreign cohorts! They would make laws in our courts!”

Above all, countries just don’t have the taste of peace: “March! March, Dabrowski! March from Italy to Poland!” enjoins the Polish anthem.

“To arms, to arms/On land and sea!” exclaims Portugal.

“Soldiers are we…” begins the Irish anthem. 

“…in our hearts forever we glorify a name/Resounding of battle, the name of gallant Trajan,” chant Romanians.







Convincing Europeans to change centuries-old lyrics would require “the best prime minister ever” – luckily for Van Rompuy, the man who fits that bill also loves an excuse to sing.

Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images

 

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