The European Union has several symbols. Not recognized by treaties, they nevertheless help to shape the identity of the Union.

Five characters are regularly associated with the European Union. They are not included in any treaty, but sixteen countries have reaffirmed their commitment to these symbols in a joint declaration annexed to the Lisbon Treaty (Declaration No. 52 concerning the symbols of the Union). France did not sign this declaration. However, in October 2017, the President of the Republic announced his intention to sign it.

European flag

In 1986, the flag with twelve five-pointed stars arranged in a circle on a blue background became the official flag of the Union. This flag has been since 1955 the flag of the Council of Europe (an international organization responsible for the promotion of democracy and political pluralism and the protection of human rights).

The number of stars is not tied to the number of member states and will not change with the increase. The number 12 symbolizes completeness and completeness. The arrangement of the stars in a circle represents solidarity and harmony between the peoples of Europe.

Each country holds its own national flag at the same time.

European anthem

In June 1985, the Heads of State and Government at the meeting of the European Council in Milan decided to make Ode to joy , a prelude to the last movement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony, the Union's official anthem. This music has already been the anthem of the Council of Europe since 1972.

« Ode to Joy " - this is the scenery for the poem of the same name by Friedrich von Schiller, which causes fraternization of all people. The European Anthem does not contain official lyrics and does not replace the national anthems of the Member States.



Following a competition organized by the Kahn Memorial in 1999, the jury chose the unofficial motto of the Union: “Unity in diversity”, the expression “in diversity” excludes any purpose of “standardization”.

In the Treaty on the Constitution of Europe (2004), this motto was added to other symbols.

Single currency, euro

On January 1, 1999, the euro became the single currency of the 11 EU member states. However, euro coins and banknotes were not introduced into circulation until January 1, 2002.

These first countries were then joined by eight other countries, and since January 1, 2015, 19 of the 27 states of the Union were in the euro area: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Although the 8 member states are not part of the euro area, we can consider that the "single currency" is now a specific and everyday symbol of the European Union.

Europe Day, May 9

At a meeting of the European Council in Milan in 1985, the heads of state and government decided that May 9 will be Europe Day every year. This commemorates the statement by French Foreign Minister Robert Schumann on May 9, 1950. This text called on France, Germany (FRG) and other European countries to combine coal and gas production. continental organization.

On April 18, 1951, the Treaty of Paris, signed by Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, secured the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (CECA).

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EU flag

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