From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"If Europe's elites were even half-way reasonable, they would put their grand project on one side and focus on dealing with this danger. But like true believers everywhere, they're convinced the only thing wrong with their dream is that it hasn't yet been fully realised. Everything suggests they'll push on until the entire edifice they've constructed cracks under the strain." --"Believing in Reason is Childish" - John Gray
The European Union is a geo-political entity covering a large portion of the European continent. It is founded upon numerous treaties and has undergone expansions that have taken it from 6 member states to 27, a majority of states in Europe.
As distinct from ideas of federation, confederation or customs union the main development in Europe depends on a supranational foundation to make war unthinkable and materially impossible and reinforce democracy enunciated by Robert Schuman and other leaders in the Europe Declaration. The principle was at the heart of the European Coal and Steel Community in the Treaty of Paris (1951), following the "Schuman Declaration" and the later the Treaties of Rome establishing the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community. Both these bodies are now part of the European Union, which was formed under that name in 1993.
The flag of the Union consists of a circle of 12 golden stars on a blue background. The blue represents the West, while the number and position of the stars represent completeness and unity, respectively. Originally designed in 1955 for the Council of Europe, the flag was adopted by the European Communities, the predecessors of the present Union, in 1986.
United in Diversity was adopted as the motto of the Union in the year 2000, having been selected from proposals submitted by school pupils. Since 1985, the flag day of the Union has been Europe Day, on 9 May (the date of the 1950 Schuman declaration). The anthem of the Union is an instrumental version of the prelude to the Ode to Joy, the 4th movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's ninth symphony. The anthem was adopted by European Community leaders in 1985 and has since been played on official occasions.
Besides naming the continent, the Greek mythological figure of Europa has frequently been employed as a personification of Europe. Known from the myth in which Zeus seduces her in the guise of a white bull, Europa has also been referred to in relation to the present Union. Statues of Europa and the bull decorate several of the Union's institutions and a portrait of her is seen on the 2013 series of Euro banknotes. The bull is, for its part, depicted on all residence permit cards.
Charles the Great, also known as Charlemagne and later recognised as Pater Europae ("Father of Europe"), has a symbolic relevance to Europe. The Commission has named one of its central buildings in Brussels after Charlemagne and the city of Aachen has since 1949 awarded the Charlemagne Prize to champions of European unification.
Benedict of Nursia (2 March 480 – 543 or 547 AD) is a patron saint of Europe, venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Catholic Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Anglican Communion and Old Catholic Churches. Pope Benedict XVI said that he "exercised a fundamental influence on the development of European civilization and culture" and helped Europe to emerge from the "dark night of history" that followed the fall of the Roman empire. The influence of St Benedict produced "a true spiritual ferment" in Europe, his followers spreading his Rule across the continent to establish a new cultural unity based on Christian faith. In 1997, Polish-born Pope John Paul II canonised Poland's 14th-century monarch Jadwiga as Saint Hedwig, the patron saint of queens and of European unification There are five other recognised patron saints of Europe, declared so by Pope John Paul II between 1980–1999 : Cyril and Methodius, Saint Bridget of Sweden, Catherine of Siena and Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.
- Butter mountain
- Council of Europe
- European Free Trade Association
- Statue of Europe
- Presseurop (news service)
- EU Code of Practice on Disinformation
- Timeline of European Union history
- History of the euro
- List of European Councils
- List of presidents of EU institutions
- Founding fathers of the European Union
- History of the European Union in Brussels
- History of the location of EU institutions
- History of Europe
- Wider European history post-1945