In an article published in May 1950 in the French daily newspaper Le Monde after the Council of Europe had raised the question of the European flag, Robert Escarpit comments with bitter sarcasm on the choice of a flag and an anthem for Europe.
The Fontainebleau European Council, held on 25 and 26 June 1984, decides to set up an ad hoc committee entrusted with the task of considering, among other things, suggestions for symbols of the existence of the European Community (see point 6: ‘A People’s Europe’).
The ad hoc Committee on a People’s Europe, known as the Adonnino Committee, submits its final report to the Milan European Council held on 28 and 29 June 1985. The report focuses, in particular, on the adoption of the European Community flag and anthem and on the establishment of ‘Europe Day’ (see point 5.5: ‘The European image in education’ and point 9: ‘Strengthening of the Community’s image and identity’).
The Milan European Council of 28 and 29 June 1985 approves the proposals set out in the final report of the ad hoc Committee on a People’s Europe, known as the Adonnino Committee, including those concerning the adoption of the flag and anthem of the European Community and the establishment of ‘Europe Day’.
In a letter dated 26 February 1986, Marcelino Oreja, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, informs Carlo Ripa de Meana, Member of the Commission of the European Communities, that the Committee of Ministers has noted with satisfaction the European Community’s intention to use the same flag and anthem as the Council of Europe.
In June 1986, a special edition of the Staff Courier of the Commission of the European Communities describes the ceremony held on 29 May at which the blue banner with 12 gold stars, the flag of the Community and of its institutions, is raised for the first time in front of the seat of the Commission in Brussels while Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the new European anthem, is played.
À l'occasion du 40ème anniversaire du drapeau européen en 1995, Aloïs Larcher, ancien membre du Greffe de l'Assemblée parlementaire du Conseil de l'Europe, décrit l'histoire du drapeau et de l'hymne européens.
In an article published in 1999 in the Revue d’Alsace, Paul Collowald, former correspondent for the French daily newspaper Le Monde in Strasbourg and then Director of Information at the European Commission from 1973 to 1981 and Director-General of Information at the European Parliament from 1981 to 1988, gives an account of the adoption of the European flag and anthem.
Paul Collowald, former journalist for the daily newspaper Le Nouvel Alsacien and former correspondent on European issues for the daily newspaper Le Monde in Alsace, outlines the role played by Paul M. G. Lévy, Director of the Information and Press Service at the Council of Europe, in the adoption of the European flag and anthem.
The Constitutional Treaty and the symbols of the European Union
In his book entitled The Symbols of the European Union, Carlo Curti Gialdino, Professor of International Law at the University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ and Legal Secretary at the Court of Justice of the European Communities from 1982 to 2000, gives an account of the preparatory work of the European Convention on the integration of the symbols of the Union into the Constitutional Treaty signed in 2004.
One year after the French and Dutch ‘No’ votes on the Constitutional Treaty, the author of this article, published on 2 June 2006 in the French daily newspaper Libération, speculates on the lack of symbols, myths and rituals capable of uniting the European people.