The power of music

The Eurovision song contest highlights both unity and divisions among western nations

the song by Saturday’s Eurovision winner from Ukraine, Susana Jamaladinova, drew attention to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, sparking criticism in Russia. Michael Campanella / Getty Images
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The Eurovision song contest offers one brief moment for Europeans to come together with their common love of pure entertainment. The show’s message of unity is particularly significant at a time when Europe’s internal borders are returning and Britain is holding a referendum on whether to leave the EU.

But then the event also highlights divisions, differences and discord. Consider the song by Saturday’s Eurovision winner from Ukraine, Susana Jamaladinova, that drew attention to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, sparking criticism in Moscow.

Britons and other Europeans have differing attitudesto the contest itself. A YouGov poll of 2,033 British adults and 6,718 people from other European countries showed that the UK was most likely to vote to leave in a referendum on Eurovision.

Yet it’s the power of music that brings together all Europeans, even when many feel disconnected from the union.