Europe Day

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!
Sondern laßt uns angenehmere
anstimmen und freudenvollere

[Oh friends, not these tones!
Let us raise our voices in more
Pleasing and more joyful sounds!
Joy! ]

Today is Europe Day, the 'National Day' of an entity that is not a nation. It gives an opportunity to hear Ludwig van Beethoven's Ode to Joy, the centerpiece of his 9th Symphony.

The official anthem of the European Union is an adaptation of Beethoven's masterpiece by Herbert von Karajan, without the lyrics by Frederich Schiller — he wrote in German, of course — to be more universal. It's not such a wonderful piece of music as the original though, of which here is a small part :

On May 9, 1950, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman read to the international press a declaration [Schuman's declaration translated into English] calling France, Germany and other European countries to pool together their coal and steel production (coal and steel industries being at that time the basis of all military power) as the first concrete foundation of a European federation. In Paris that day, a first move was made towards the creation of what is now known as the European Union. It happened shortly after the end of WWII, that was also the third war between France and Germany in 70 years, with millions dead on each side.

A few years later, in 1957, the Treaty of Rome established the European Community. It was signed by six countries: France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. There are now 27 countries inside what has become the European Union, and a war between them is just unthinkable.

The European Union has several flaws still. Especially, it is too much an economical entity and not enough a political union. Yet it has afforded to EU countries peace and stability for several decades. Heads of EU countries and EU administration are almost extricated from religious influences at work in the Middle-East and United States.

Some day hopefully, the EU might even succeed in spreading its values concerning human rights, the death penalty, global warming, and other issues. The sooner, the better.

1 comment(s):

    I hope the day comes sooner rather than later.


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