The Olympics are not a victory for the EU

It would be amusing to see Europhiles declaring that the ‘European Union is the Winning Team’ of the 2012 Olympics if it wasn’t so telling

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Running for Team EU? Errr, no...
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Darren Rutland
On 20 August 2012 09:53

I know I was not alone when I read that an organisation representing the European Union was trying to claim Team GB’s amazing success as belonging to Brussels. It reminded me of the time Jacques Chirac (who else?) congratulated the England rugby team’s 2003 World Cup win as a “victory for Europe” – after the team knocked out France in the semi-finals, of course.

The Olympic medal table was rewritten – for those who care – with the achievements of individual countries being erased and the EU’s tally airbrushed in. This artwork had all the creativity of those in charge of the EU budget.

It would be amusing to see Europhiles declaring that the ‘European Union is the Winning Team,’ if it wasn’t so telling.

Marina Yannakoudakis, Conservative MEP for London, got it spot on;

Perhaps I was not paying close enough attention, but I do not remember an EU team marching into the stadium at the opening ceremony. Nor do I remember hearing the strains of Beethoven's Ode to Joy as winning athletes mounted the podium. According to the site the EU was surprisingly the "winning team".

But let’s be fair, this isn’t the first instance of pro-EU bandwagon-jumping. They were at it before London 2012 started, as Nile Gardiner pointed out. But as he argued, “The Olympics have always been a celebration of individual achievement, team effort and the nation state, rather than supranationalism, and the London Games will be no different.”

Perhaps they had faith in our ability to put on a show. Maybe they saw a sneak preview of Danny Boyle’s spectacular opening ceremony. Alas, no. It was all part of trying to create a European identity that simply doesn’t exist.

An interesting point raised on Twitter was to do with the lack of EU flags at the Games. I watched a fair bit of the Olympic coverage, and I don’t remember seeing the twelve stars at all.

This may be due to the fact that most non-national flags were not permitted in the stadia. However, this proves a point in itself. If EU flags were allowed in, it speaks volumes that no one wanted to wave them. But if they weren’t allowed in, it was because the EU isn’t a country.

Of course, this is about more than what flags are waved and what medals are won. It’s about the confused priorities of the pro-EU lobby, whose views are of course shared by those running the EU.

It seems as if those in favour of a bloated EU have stopped trying to make the case for their idea, and want to take credit for things which are the preserve of sovereign states. Dan Hannan recently summed it up: ‘You can’t fabricate a common nationality.’

Then again, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that Europhiles spend time on fantasy medal tallies. It’s not like the single currency is in crisis and democratic governments have been replaced...

Darren Rutland has worked for the No to AV campaign and the TaxPayers' Alliance. He tweets at @DarrenRutland

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