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02/03/2006 15:47 Local Time 
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Symbols of the EU

 
The European Union has adopted three basic symbols identifying it internationally as a political entity.

The European Flag

In 1986 the flag originally adopted by the Council of Europe became the official flag of the European Community. Twelve gold stars form a circle on an azure background. The number of stars is unrelated to the number of member states participating in the Union, twelve being the symbol of perfection and unity.

The European Anthem

The Ode to Joy, the last movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was adopted by the Community as the European Anthem in 1986. The choice was made on account of the movement's content, being a hymn to unity and peace among citizens. No words have officially been set to the music, although some have been written. The European anthem does not replace the national anthems of the Member States.

Europe Day

Europe Day is 9 May, commemorating the declaration in 1950 by Robert Schuman which is regarded as marking the creation of what is now the European Union. The then French Foreign Minister presented the declaration during a press conference at the Salon de l'Horloge in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris. The 'Schuman Declaration', as it is commonly known, was inspired by the ideas of Jean Monnet and expressed the far-reaching ambition of creating a supranational, European institution to manage the production of coal and steel, key raw materials at the time.

Europe Day provides an occasion for activities and festivities that bring Europe closer to its citizens and the peoples of the Union

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