European symbols

The Council of Europe (COE) has developed a series of European symbols for the continent of Europe, and these have since been shared with the European Union (EU).



Main article: European flag

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Flag of Europe

The flag of Europe is twelve golden stars (pointing upwards) in a circle on a blue background. Although the flag is most commonly associated with the European Union, it was initially used by the Council of Europe in 1955, and is considered to represent Europe as a whole as opposed to any particular organisation such as the EU or the COE.

The flag was adopted in 1985 by all EU heads of State and government as the official emblem of the European Union and, since the beginning of 1986, it is used by all European institutions.


The European anthem is based on the final movement of Beethoven's ninth symphony, which contains the lyrics of Friedrich Schiller's ode, An die Freude (Ode to Joy). The anthem was originally adopted by the Council of Europe in 1972 and by the European Union in 1985. It is played on official occasions by both the Council of Europe and the European Union. Due to the large number of languages used in the European Union, the anthem is purely instrumental and has no official lyrics. Template:Listen

Europe Day

The Council of Europe has celebrated its founding on 5 May, 1949 as "Europe Day" since 1964.

What is now the European Union adopted 9 May as "Europe Day" at the Milan summit in 1985, to celebrate that Robert Schuman presented his proposal on the creation of an organised Europe, indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations, on the 9 May, 1950. This proposal, known as the Schuman declaration, is considered by many to be the beginning of the creation of what is now the European Union.

9 May is now the more commonly observed date, though some Europeans still prefer 5 May, since the Council of Europe was designed to defend human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, while the Schuman speech was simply proposing a sharing of French and German coal and steel.


The European motto is Unity in diversity (Latin: In varietate concordia). It was first established through an unofficial process in 2000. It was selected from entries proposed by school pupils submitted to the website "" [1] (, and then accepted by the President of the European Parliament, Nicole Fontaine. The motto is soon likely to be replaced by the slightly modified "United in diversity", which has been written into the draft Constitution for Europe and now appears on official EU websites. See "" [2] ( for the motto in many languages not listed below.

Curiously, the motto is essentially the same as the South African motto officially adopted in 27 April 2000: !ke e: /xarra //ke in /Xam, an extinct Khoisan language. Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, translated as "Unity in Diversity", is also the national motto of Indonesia. It is also similar to e pluribus unum (Latin for "out of many, one"), one of the mottos of the United States of America.

In the official languages of member-states of the EU

  • Czech - Jednotnost v různorodosti
  • Danish - Forenet i mangfoldighed
  • Dutch - Eenheid in verscheidenheid
  • English - United in diversity
  • Estonian - Ühtsus erinevuses
  • Finnish - Erilaisuudessaan yhdistynyt / Moninaisuudessaan yhtenäinen
  • French - Unis dans la diversité
  • German - In Vielfalt geeint
  • Greek - Ενότητα στην πολυµορφία
  • Hungarian - Egység a sokféleségben
  • Irish - Aontaithe in ilíocht
  • Italian - Uniti nella diversità
  • Latvian - Vienotība dažādībā
  • Lithuanian - Vienybė įvairialypiškume
  • Maltese - Maghqudin fid-diversità
  • Polish - Jedność w różnorodności
  • Portuguese - Unidade na diversidade
  • Slovak - Jednota v rozdielnosti
  • Slovene - Združeni v raznolikosti
  • Spanish - Unidos en la diversidad
  • Swedish - Förenade i mångfalden

In other languages used by EU citizens

In languages used in the candidate countries

Draft EU constitution

The Convention on the Future of Europe proposed in Article IV-1 (The symbols of the Union) of its draft Constitution for Europe, July 18, 2003:

The flag of the Union shall be a circle of twelve golden stars on a blue background.
The anthem of the Union shall be based on the Ode to Joy from the Ninth Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven.
The motto of the Union shall be: United in diversity.
The currency of the Union shall be the euro.
9 May shall be celebrated throughout the Union as Europe day.

See also

External links

European flag

European anthem

Europe day

European motto

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