FICTIONAL Scottish detective John Rebus has provided Brussels bureaucrats with the inspiration they need to face the dark days ahead.
Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen told the European Parliament today that he recently read Ian Rankin’s novel ‘Set In Darkness’
He said that although Europe was facing “major challenges”, four lines in the novel persuaded him not to be fearful.
The novel’s title comes from a poem by Sarah Williams called The Old Astronomer.
In the preface to the novel, Rankin quotes the lines: “Though my soul may set in darkness/It will rise in perfect light/ I have loved the stars too fondly/ To be fearful of the night.”
Van Der Bellen said that when reading the lines in Rankin’s novel, he envisaged the EU flag.
He said: “Believe it or not, it suddenly came to my mind: These are the stars of the European Flag!
“I could reframe the last two lines, reading: “I do love these stars too fondly, to be fearful of the night – or to be fearful of the next crisis.””
Ian Rankin, on discovering he had been quoted, simply tweeted: “Wow!”
Van Der Bellen became President of Austria in January 2017.
He is an independent but is generally a left-leaning liberal who is supportive of the European Union