The Council of Europe's symbols

The European flag

Against the background of blue sky, the stars form a circle, symbolising union. The number of stars is fixed, twelve being the symbol of perfection and completeness and bringing to mind the apostles, the sons of Jacob, the labours of Hercules, the months in the year, etc.

From its foundation in 1949 the Council of Europe was aware of the need to give Europe a symbol with which Europeans could identify. On 25 October 1955 the Parliamentary Assembly unanimously approved the emblem of a circle of gold stars on a blue background. On 9 December 1955 the organisation's Committee of Ministers adopted the star-studded flag, which was launched officially on 13 December of the same year in Paris. It is only in 1983 that the European Parliament in turn adopted the flag devised by the Council of Europe and recommended that it become the European Communities' emblem. The European Council gave its approval in June 1985. The European Union's institutions began to use the flag in 1986.

The use of common symbols represents the shared european identities and values of the Council of Europe and the European Union.


The official logo (color):

The official logo (B/W):

The European anthem

Since 1972, the European anthem has been an excerpt from the prelude to the Ode to Joy from Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

The Council of Europe makes available to professionals and the general public recordings of different interpretations of the European Anthem. These recordings are extracts from the "Rhapsodie sur l'Hymne Européen" by the French composer Christophe Guyard. They were commissioned by the Council of Europe for use in documentaries, news and other programmes covering the Council of Europe.

The "Rhapsodie sur l'Hymne Européen", is a protected work. It is not copyright-free, since it is registered with Sacem (France). The composer is Christophe Guyard.


Below you can find classical versions of the European Anthem, played on piano and on pipe organ.

  Listen to the Anthem played by the Orchestra

  Listen to the piano version

  Listen to the pipe organ version