CarolaI suppose it’s the closest thing that we have to European ‘culture’ – the Eurovision Song Contest. OK, we have other events like the European Championship soccer, but other areas of the world get involved in that game too. Eurovision, and its dodgy line up of strange pop acts is surely unique. Yet as the European Union grows, so does the Song Contest – this year semi-finals (on Thursday 18th) are needed to reduce the number of countries taking part in the final that will happen on Saturday 20th May. There are a few things its worth remarking on about all of this…

  • As the geopolitical map of Europe changes, so do a country’s chances of winning the song contest. Even without the Iraq war, it’s doubtful whether the UK could ever win again as we just don’t have enough friends or neighbours. I reckon a Balkan country will be in with a good shout this year.
  • The Swedes take the contest stupidly seriously, with a whole series of TV programmes (Melodifestivalen) devoted to the subject. Carola (the Swedish entry, pictured) however has to qualify through the semi-finals on Thursday. If she doesn’t make the final it will be a big hit for Swedish national morale, with subsequent negative impacts for the Social Democrats’ prospects for the election in the autumn. So vote for her! If you’re in the UK, find out how at the BBC’s Eurovision site.
  • Comedy entry are Lordi from Finland – have a look at this. Should be good for a laugh at least…

As for me – well, I’ll be at a wedding in rural Belgium on the weekend with a load of alumni from the College of Europe, a multi-national bunch of people who should be watching this sort of thing you would imagine!

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