SOTEU, State of the European Union

SOTEU (short for Sound Of The European Union) is the most successful musical of the EU Bubble. It is performed once a year in front of the whole European Parliament, usually in Strasbourg, though SOTEU 2020 was held in Brussels because of covid pandemics and because almost nobody wanted to go there.

The solo singer is the President of the European Commission, which is accompanied in the background by cabinet members, policy desks, speechwriters, spokespeople, Representations in Member States and many other actors.

The poster of the Sound of the European Union in 2020: “A dysfunctional family, fascism and war on the rise, an uncertain future ahead. The song of hope of a resilient and determined woman will protect promote her people from all that”

This inspiring tradition started under the Barroso II Commission in 2010 and it is supposed to increase the Commission’s transparency and accountability. It also gives a chance to the President to vent out, in singing form, the stress from the previous year and to prepare the audience for the stress of the year to come. The lyrics of SOTEU varies from year to year, but they usually rhyme with resilient, sustainable, concerned, fair, gender-balanced and prosperous.

The Big Screens installed near Rue de la Loi for Juncker's last SOTEU
The Big Screens installed near Rue de la Loi for Juncker’s last SOTEU

The many peons who are not invited to the plenary usually follow the SOTEU performance in streaming from their offices or from the common rooms; this creates an electrically charged atmosphere very similar to the FIFA World Cup finale.

SOTEU singers start practiSing already in adolescence. Click on the image to start the video.

SOTEU’s format is inspired by the SOTU (State Of The Union), an annual message delivered by the President of the United States to the Congress. Take this as the first hint of federalism.

The most famous song of SOTEU is My Favourite Things (EU Version), that every president can customize at will. Here we report the version sung by Ursula von der Leyen in 2020

My Favourite Things (EU Version)

Rainbows in Poland and climate ambitions
Bright female leaders and digital visions
Going to Strasbourg for big gatherings
These are a few of my favourite things!

Free-trade agreements with Asian partners
Repatriate tourists from Thailand with charters
Beating Vladimir producing vaccines
These are a few of my favourite things!

Hiring consultants and wiping off phones
pretending kick-offs are already milestones
engulfing the Web with useless controls
These are a few of my least-liked goals!

UK provokes
and Novi chokes
Oh, it drives me mad!
But then I remember my favourite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad!

Green-coloured energy pumped through our pipelines
Lithium batteries from our own mines
Stop climate change and see young Greta smile
These are the things that I hope to provide.