Bono: Europe needs to become a ‘feeling’ not just a ‘thought’

PUBLISHED: 10:13 29 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:13 29 August 2018

Bono on tour with U2. Photograph: PA/PA Images.

Bono on tour with U2. Photograph: PA/PA Images.

U2 frontman Bono has promised to wave the “big, bright, blue EU flag” at gigs in defence of Europe.

Demonstrators show their passion for Europe by flying the EU flag. Photograph: Matt Crossick/EMPICS Entertainment.Demonstrators show their passion for Europe by flying the EU flag. Photograph: Matt Crossick/EMPICS Entertainment.

Writing in German newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine the Irish frontman said that “Europe is the theatre of powerful, emotional, clashing forces that will shape our future”.

Explaining his passion for the EU he said: “As a European I feel proud thinking back to when Germans welcomed frightened Syrian refugees (I’d feel prouder had more countries stepped up); proud of Europe’s fight to end extreme poverty and climate change; and, yes, extraordinarily proud of the Good Friday agreement and how other countries have rallied behind Ireland on the border issue, revived by Brexit.”

He added: “Its values and aspirations make Europe so much more than just a geography. They go to the core of who we are as human beings, and who we want to be. That idea of Europe deserves songs written about it, and big bright blue flags to be waved about.”

The singer vowed to defend the European project after its countries “rallied behind Ireland” in Brexit negotiations.

Anti Brexit billboards on the northern side of the border between Newry in Northern Ireland and Dundalk in the Republic of Ireland. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA.Anti Brexit billboards on the northern side of the border between Newry in Northern Ireland and Dundalk in the Republic of Ireland. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA.

“Belonging to Europe enabled us to become a better, more confident version of ourselves. We stand a bit taller among friends,” he added.

However he warned that that both the project and patriotism is at risk from nationalists and extremists.

“Seek refuge, they tell us, in sameness; drive out the different. Their vision for the future looks to me a lot like the past: identity politics, grievance, violence. Nationalism is an equal opportunity discriminator”.

Bono says that Europe is a “thought that needs to become a feeling” - and U2 have promised to play their part by waving the “big, bright, blue EU flag” at gigs across the continent over the coming months.

“I’m guessing that even to a rock audience, waving an EU flag these days is either an annoyance, a bore, a kitsch reference to the Eurovision Song Contest but to some of us it has become a radical act”, he added.

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