On 26 September 1953, during a press conference held in Strasbourg, François de Menthon, President of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe, presents the first flag adopted as its emblem by the Assembly the previous day. The flag is blue with a circle of 15 gold stars, representing the number of member States of the organisation (including the Saar).
On 25 October 1955, the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe recommends to the Committee of Ministers that it adopt the flag of 12 gold stars on a blue background as the organisation’s emblem and that it propose to the other European organisations that they adopt emblems similar to the Council of Europe’s emblem.
In 1985, the European Communities adopt the same anthem as that chosen by the Council of Europe in 1972. The melody is taken from the final movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, composed in 1823, which sets to music the ‘Ode to Joy’, a poem written in 1785 by Friedrich von Schiller. However, because of translation problems, Schiller’s words do not form part of the European anthem. The music is arranged by Herbert von Karajan.
Adopted as part of an information strategy seeking to improve the visibility of the Council of Europe, the resolution adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 11 April 2000 emphasises the need to supplement the common European symbols (the blue flag with the 12 gold stars and the European anthem) by distinctive symbols which are proper to the organisation.