9th of May – Europe Day: about the EU Anthem

Focus on the European anthem, a masterpiece whose grandeur expresses the ideals of a united Europe: freedom, peace and solidarity.


“Ode to Joy”, the final movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, has become the official anthem of the European Council and the European Union in 1971. The piece of music that is now used by European institutions was recorded by conductor Herbert Von Karajan who wrote an instrumental arrangement with a slower tempo than that of the original version. Moreover, in the arrangement the German words by poet Friedrich Schiller were dropped so as not to elevate one language over another.

The European anthem was launched via a major information campaign on Europe Day in 1972. It was adopted in 1985 by EU heads of State and government as the official anthem of the then European Community.

The Ode to Joy is not intended to replace the national anthems of the EU member states but rather to celebrate the values they all share and their unity in diversity. The anthem’s beauty, its grandiose and joyful nature express the ideals of a united Europe: freedom, peace and solidarity.

In this commemorative day, we wanted to remind the European values. We hope these will constitute the basis of all decisions taken by the European Union and its member states. Happy Europe Day!