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EU Parliament set to use European flag, anthem

11 September 2008, 16:54 CET

(BRUSSELS) - The EU parliament is set next month to use the European Union flag, anthem and motto for all formal business following a committe vote on Thursday.

The parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee endorsed the move which will go to the full house this month.

The EU flag -- a circle of 12 golden stars on a blue background; anthem -- the "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony; and motto -- "United in diversity" -- were not included in the bloc's reforming Lisbon Treaty for fear they might upset national sensibilities.

However the 27 EU member states may still use the European symbols as they please.

The parliamentary committee approved the changes to the chamber's "rules of procedures" by 20 votes to four and the matter will now go forward to a full plenary session on October 20-23.

Under the new rules, the flag will be displayed in all European Parliament meeting rooms and official events, according to the report drawn up by Spanish Socialist MEP Carnero Gonzales.

The anthem is to be performed at the opening ceremony following each European election and at formal sittings and the motto will be reproduced on all official EU parliament documents.

On top of that, the celebration of "Europe Day" on May 9 will be formally recognised by the parliament.

Any amendment to the plans would require the unlikely backing of an absolute majority of the 785 MEPs, rather than just most of those who attend and vote in the chamber.

Further information - European Parliament Constitutional Affairs committee

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