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MEPs vote to recognise flag, anthem, motto

'Ah, so that's what those tawdry baubles are'

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MEPs voted last night to recognise the EU flag, anthem and motto, which will come as something of a surprise to the rest of the world which has been recognising the EU flag for some years now.

The flag, bearing 12 stars on a blue background, will henceforth be hung in parliament meeting rooms and at official events, while Beethoven's rendition of Ode To Joy will be performed at the opening of parliament, at formal sittings, and whenever a toilet seat is raised at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

While the flag might be generally recognised, and the tune could be placed, it's hard to find anyone who knows the EU motto "United in diversity". But maybe that will change now that it's going to adorn all official documents... or perhaps not.

MEP Jim Allister, heir to Ian Paisley's EU seat, was typically conciliatory, describing the EU flag as "tawdry baubles of Eurofederalism" and going on to opine that "Ode to Joy... may be a very nice tune, but so is Jingle Bells and like Jingle Bells it heralds a fantasy, the fantasy that the EU is good for you".

Other MEPs were less damning, with most failing to understand what all the fuss is about when all three symbols of the EU are already in common use.

Unfortunately the only copy of Ode to Joy we had handy is the MIDI file that comes pre-installed on Windows, and having listened to that we have to report not feeing very European at all. ®

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