MEP’s will vote this week on proposals to enforce the flying of the EU rag and singing of the EU “national” anthem at European football championships.
It’s not clear whether the proposal is to have it playing instead of national anthems of the countries involved or whether it will be played in addition to the national anthems like they do in the cricket when England have Jerusalem played before the British national anthem.
I’m unsure what the reaction would be to the EU anthem being played at a football match involving England. It’s a nice enough tune – Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th – but we are the most eurosceptic country in the EU. Either the song will be ignored because nobody recognises it or it will be greeted by boos and whistles. I’m leaning toward the latter.
There’s also the question of what happens when a non-EU country’s team is in the finals. Say, for instance, the final was between Norway and Switzerland (yes, it’s unlikely, but how many people put money on Greece in 2004?). Neither of these countries are EU member states – would their fans be forced to watch some jumped up eurofederalists parade around the pitch waving that blue rag and listen to a piece of classical music that apparently represents the values of the EU (I’d have though Deutschland über alles was a more appropriate choice personally)?
I mute the telly when they play God Save the Queen before England matches, I’d turn the telly off rather than see the EU take over the event for its own propaganda purposes. This is just a step too far – sport is the main expression of nationalism in Europe (in England, it’s the only one we’re still allowed by the Scottish Raj) so it’s easy to see why the eurofederalists are keen to take control of it.