Friday

30th Jul 2021

EU's first-ever 'Eurovision' song stirs controversy

  • 'European way of life' commissioner and baritone Margaritis Schinas (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

EU institutions, on Thursday (1 April), unveiled a first-ever and immediately controversial entry into the Eurovision Song Contest to be held in the Netherlands in May.

The song, called 'The EU is Alive', is a pop-homage to a hit from the 1965 musical The Sound of Music.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Commission president Ursula von der Leyen during EU rehearsals (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

It is being added to a line-up of 39 national semi-finalists for the first time in the event's 65-year history to boost public morale in the pandemic.

"In a period of anxiety, the EU needs to show we care about more than just vaccines," European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said.

"We need to rock Europe", she said.

The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the event, said it had "carefully scrutinised the EU entry".

And it was deemed in accord with "rules governing the integrity and dignity" of the contest.

But the EU song immediately stirred political controversy when Britain and Russia complained, in strident terms, about its content.

The EU song begins: "The EU is alive, with the sound of Europe".

Its lyrics go on to say: "The European way of life, is the life for me".

And for the UK, that was "hardcore EU pornoganda," a British foreign office spokesman told EUobserver.

While for the Russian foreign ministry, the EU song was "an act of cultural warfare" designed to "narcotise Russian people".

The EU entry is to be performed by baritone Greek crooner and 'European way of life' commissioner Margaritis Schinas.

It includes a cameo act by Belgian amateur ventriloquist and EU 'justice' commissioner Didier Reynders.

And its lavish, Alpine-themed production opens with von der Leyen cantering through a green valley in a blue-and-gold dirndl, with her arms outstretched.

Ventriloquist EU commissioner Didier Reynders (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

This was EUobserver's April Fools' Day story

Investigation

EU taxpayers in the dark on US corona-drug deal

The EU recently signed a huge contract for a US anti-corona drug which, the WHO says, might not work, but there's little transparency on how the deal was made.

Opinion

Can Greece work with Biden to solve the West Balkans impasse?

Greece has always been Europe's outlier. It faces an implacably hostile neighbour in Turkey under its assertive authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Until Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, Greece had no European Union member state as a neighbour.

EU and UK frustrated at US travel ban extension

The US remains closed to tourists from the EU and the UK - a situation that has prompted frustration and urgent calls for the reopening of international travel to vaccinated individuals by industry and countries.

News in Brief

  1. Officials worried at infection-surge on Greek holiday islands
  2. EU calls on online platforms to tackle vaccine hesitancy
  3. Russia accused of falling short on Sputnik V deliveries
  4. France: UK quarantine rules 'discriminatory'
  5. Italy's government reaches deal on judicial reform
  6. EU adopts guidelines to 'climate-proof' infrastructure projects
  7. US backs WHO plan for further Covid-origin investigation
  8. EU to buy 220,000 supplies of potential Covid treatment

Opinion

Brexit: what is the 'Lugano Convention' and does it matter?

After Brexit, the UK ceased to be a member of the Lugano Convention, an international treaty which governs cross-border civil and commercial legal disputes. In May, the European Commission published an opinion calling for the UK's re-application to be rejected.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Malta responsible for journalist's death, inquiry finds
  2. Can Greece work with Biden to solve the West Balkans impasse?
  3. EU and UK frustrated at US travel ban extension
  4. Polish judges rally behind EU court ruling
  5. Why 'Fit for 55' isn't fit for purpose
  6. EU hits vaccination target, as Delta variant now dominates
  7. European arms 'displaced over a million people', research finds
  8. Brexit: what is the 'Lugano Convention' and does it matter?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us