A group of European Parliament members, singers and journalists are bidding to set up a European song contest restricted to the 27 members of the European Union.

They have already contacted various broadcasters, sponsors and the EU institutions for support to the idea, which aims to "bring the European Union closer to its citizens and to give information about the EU and its member states during the program."

It would complement but not replace the Eurovision Song Contest, which has taken place every year since 1956.

The plan is to have a music event that would occur on Europe Day, May 9, the anniversary of the 1950 Schuman Declaration that paved the way for the modern EU.

The initiative is being led by Dutch former Eurovision contestant Sandra Reemer, Dutch European Parliament member Toine Manders, and Dutch journalist Henk Krol.

"The European Union is more than the single market and the Euro. The EU is also culture, sports, prosperity but above all it's about peace," Manders said.

He also said he hoped the event would end the Eurovision trend of singing in English: all contestants in the EU program would have to sing in their own language, reflecting the EU motto, "unity in diversity".

This year's Eurovision Song Contest, won by Serbia last Saturday, involved 42 countries from across Europe - although Israel and Morocco are also regular contestants.