Monday

26th Sep 2016

Charter of Fundamental Rights to be re-written as 80-minute-long epic poem

  • The agency is also planning to recraft the charter in the language of children (Photo: unicefiran)

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) wants the EU's human rights charter recast as an 80-minute-long epic poem, accompanied by music, dance and "multi-media elements."

"The FRA intends to launch a negotiated procedure for the creation and implementation of an artistic concept for the presentation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in Poems," reads the agency tender issued this month.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The Vienna-based agency has opened a process of contracting a poet to devise a composition based on the articles of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and hire a company of performers to accompany a presentation of the poem with music, a dance interpretation of the piece and "multimedia elements", as well as what the tender refers to as "etc."

The inaugural reading of the poem, whose working title is ‘The Charter in Poems', is to take place at the bloc's 2010 Fundamental Rights Conference on 7 December.

In a move that is likely to provoke the ire of francophones, already smarting from what they view as the galloping advance of the English language within the EU institutions and European communication with citizens at the expense of French, the tender required that poem be composed in the language of Shakespeare as English is, according to the tender document, the "literary language".

However, "the performance itself need not be limited to just English, and indeed is encouraged to include other official languages of the EU."

Friso Roscam-Abbing, spokesman for the FRA, told EUobserver that the poetic re-visioning of the charter aims to make the "dry, legal language of the charter, which is very inaccessible, more relevant to European citizens."

"We hope to raise the visibility of the charter via a nice, literary manifestation of the document in a way that brings the charter to life."

"We are also in the process of developing a children's competition, putting it into children's words to express what the legal language means to them."

Mr Roscam-Abbing said that the requirement that the poem be written in English was "a mistake in the tender announcement."

"It will be put out in all three of the working languages of the EU: English, French, and German, plus Dutch."

Five bidders have responded to the tender. Mr Abbing said he could not reveal from which member states the poets hailed.

The author or authors of the Charter in Poems must also transfer all intellectual property rights and publishing rights to the Fundamental Rights Agency.

Although the tender has now closed, poets may still contact the agency to be involved, according to Mr Roscam-Abbing.

The development comes as European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, a poet in his spare time himself, announced this week he is to publish in April an anthology of his three-line Japanese haiku poems.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFAMessages of Hope From the Basque Country and Galicia
  2. Access NowDigital Rights Heroes and Villains. See Who Protects Your Rights, Who Wants to Take Them Away
  3. Martens CentreQuo Vadis Georgia? What to Expect From the Parliamentary Elections. Debate on 29 September
  4. EJCAppalled by Recommendation to Remove Hamas From EU Terrorism Watch List
  5. GoogleBringing Education to Refugees in Lebanon With the Clooney Foundation for Justice
  6. HuaweiAn Industry-leading ICT Solution Provider and Building a Better World
  7. World VisionUN Refugees Meeting a Wasted Opportunity to Improve the Lives of Millions of Children
  8. Belgrade Security ForumCan Democracy Survive Global Disorder?
  9. YouthProAktivEntrepreneurship, Proactivity, Innovation - Turn Ideas Into Action #IPS2016
  10. GoogleTrimming the Waste-Line: Weaving Circular Economy Principles Into Our Operations
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeDon't Miss the Mega Conference to Master Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. ACCAKaras Report on Access to Finance for SMEs in a Capital Markets Union