Eurovision a good metaphor for lack of euro vision

May 23, 2012

By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The euro zone crisis is everywhere. The political and economic plight of Greece and Spain has reached fever pitch. And now awareness of the splintering currency area’s economic realities has reached the Eurovision Song Contest.

This annual musical cacophony, which dates back to 1956, features execrable europop sung by a succession of bizarre d-list pop stars who have somehow been deemed representative of their national culture. Voting takes ages and is conducted by hapless TV anchors of the host nation beaming live to all 26 participating countries in turn. In terms of efficiency, it has a lot in common with the actual euro zone.

This year it’s hard to resist hunting for subliminal messages in each nation’s songs. Part of the sober Finns’ entry translates as “Close Your Eyes”, summing up what most taxpayers in Helsinki want to do at the thought of fiscal transfers to the indebted periphery. On the other hand, Slovakia’s entry underlines the difficulty of getting all 17 members to reach a consensus: it’s called “Don’t close your eyes”.

Other entries are even more revealing. The Spanish have submitted “Stay with Me”, a transparent plea to German chancellor Angela Merkel to not abandon them. Germany’s own effort sums up its ponderous approach to the crisis. It’s called “Standing Still”.

But one entry actually addresses the crisis directly – and that country isn’t even in the euro zone. Montenegro’s song, “Euro Neuro”, is three minutes and five seconds of ostensible gibberish rapped by a middle-aged Montenegrin who goes by the unlikely name of Rambo Amadeus. But it contains a compelling message.

“Euro Neuro, don’t be dogmatic, bureaucratic/You need to become pragmatic”, implores a shabbily-dressed Mr Amadeus in the video, sitting astride a donkey that is symbolically blocking the path of a Porsche on a sun-kissed mountain road in the Balkans. In case the Brussels eurocrats haven’t got the message, the chorus is even punchier: “Euro Neuro/Monetary Breakdance … Give me a chance to refinance”.

Some might wonder why this agit-pop didn’t come from Athens: Greece’s own effort, sung by a lithe Hellenic chanteuse and called “Aphrodisiac” is more escapist. Sadly, Mr Amadeus didn’t make it past the semi-final. But maybe euro governments should take him seriously anyway.


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Euro governments should take Mr. Amadeus seriosly for sure. He is very serios in his words, he is maker of great music and lyrics but the public should have the sence for artistic essence.
In Serbia we are still waithing and hoping for renesance in every way.

Posted by jovana-mirovic | Report as abusive

Dear Mr. Hay,

Apart from the usual ignorance and disrespect that we have grown accustomed to when it comes to the Eurovision song contest from what appears to be, but does not have to be, a British author, comments made on the account of Rambo Amadeus simply, and plainly show how much you missed the point.

Rather then superficially reporting on a subject, it would be a welcome change if you did do your homework a little bit more, and studied the phenomenon behind the artists that goes by the name of Rambo Amadeus. Every single detail that you did notice, and have not, is part of a very carefully designed message which was sent across.

In the Balkans, there is a saying: its better to say nothing, then to talk stupid.

Best regards,
–Dragutin Cvetkovic

Posted by Drazha | Report as abusive

?? written by an under-employed person ??

Posted by scythe | Report as abusive