Sunday

19th Aug 2018

Focus

Estonians treat Juncker and Tusk to 'noisy' heavy metal act

  • Metsatoll performing at the official EU presidency ceremony in Tallinn (Photo: EU2017EE Estonian Preside)

Estonia has officially opened its EU presidency on Thursday (29 June) with a ceremony that included some unconventional elements.

After speeches by Estonian prime minister Juri Ratas, European Council president Donald Tusk, and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, three bagpipe musicians performed Ludwig van Beethoven's Ode to Joy, the unofficial EU anthem.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The ceremony also included acrobatic performances, a boys' choir, and a theatre play.

But Juncker and Tusk may have been somewhat taken aback by one choice of the choreographer, to include a performance by heavy metal band Metsatoll.

It followed a speech by Tusk praising Estonia's Singing Revolution, which led to the country's renewed independence after decades of Soviet occupation.

"Never before - and never after - had I seen anything so moving in public life. So powerful and peaceful at the same time," said Tusk, who also grew up behind the Iron Curtain, in Poland.

Tusk called Estonia an example for other EU countries.

"What has made an equally strong impression on the rest of Europe more recently, is your determination and creativity in realising the vast project of digitalisation. Estonia," said Tusk.

Heavy metal

Whereas previous presidencies have presented their country's more traditional music, Estonia chose to present itself as a nation of headbangers.

The group played three songs, in the Tallinn Creative Hub, or Kultuurikatel, a former coal-fired power plant.

According to one audience member, Metsatoll is particularly popular among Estonian youth.

Metsatoll has been around since the turn of the millennium, and has toured in Europe and North America.

On Friday morning, Juncker referred to the opening ceremony in a joint press conference with prime minister Ratas.

"The concert yesterday night was special," he said, adding that it was "noisy".

It is unclear whether his budget commissioner, Guenther Oettinger, and Estonian commissioner Andrus Ansip (digital single market), who were also present for the ceremony, appreciated the wall of sound.

Donald Tusk (60) has previously profiled himself as belonging to an older musical generation.

Earlier this month, he came out as a John Lennon fan, when he quoted the song "Imagine", in relation to Brexit.

At a press conference at the EU summit in Brussels, Tusk specified his preference of Lennon over Paul McCartney.

Estonia will hold the rotating EU presidency from 1 July until the end of the year.

Metsatoll performing at the opening ceremony of the Estonian EU presidency

Interview

Estonian presidency leaves 'more confident' EU

During its six months as head of the EU Council, Estonia tried to maintain EU unity and push 'digital' - despite Brexit and the lack of a government in Berlin, explained deputy minister for EU affairs Matti Maasikas.

News in Brief

  1. Germany and Greece strike deal on taking back migrants
  2. Merkel confronts far-right critics: '2015 will not be repeated'
  3. UN: Predictable disembarkation process urgently needed
  4. Slovenia set to select former comedian as prime minister
  5. Polish president to veto election rule helping big parties
  6. MEPs blast UK 'alphabetical approach' on citizens rights
  7. EU hits back over Salvini's blame for bridge collapse
  8. Poll: Sweden's social democrat-led government set to win again

Schengen at stake in Austria-Germany talks

German interior minister Horst Seehofer is in Vienna on Thursday - as his plan to reject some asylum seekers was met by an Austrian threat to close its borders too.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  2. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  3. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  4. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  5. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  6. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  8. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  12. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma

Latest News

  1. EU gets record response on 'summertime' consultation
  2. 'Nativism' and the upcoming Swedish and Bavarian elections
  3. Former Malta opposition leader fears for his life
  4. Women shun EU-funded site for female entrepreneurs
  5. Building a Europe more resilient to terrorism
  6. Brexit talks resume as chance of 'no deal' put at 50:50
  7. US trial sheds light on murky Cyprus-Russia links
  8. Burned cars fuel Swedish election debate

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us