New British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, demanded that ‘no EU flags’ should be shown at the Prague meeting of European leaders on Thursday 6 October 2022.
EU news website EURACTIV reported that the flags were kept away from the inaugural European Political Community summit at the demand of Ms Truss and the UK delegation.
The Independent reported: ‘The British government and its Tory MPs are sensitive to any suggestion that Britain could be engaging with EU political institutions – which they spent years trying to take Britain out of.’
But the blue flag with 12 yellow stars is not the EU flag – it’s the flag of Europe. Doesn’t the British Prime Minister know this? Yes, the EU has adopted and uses the flag, but it is first and foremost the flag of all of Europe, accepted by every European country, except Belarus and Russia (and now, it seems, Britain too).
The flag is an official symbol of the Council of Europe, the continent’s leading human rights organisation, which is nothing to do with the European Union.
The flag was designed and adopted by the Council in 1955 as a symbol for the whole of Europe. Founded in 1949 with the passionate support of Winston Churchill, the Council is responsible for the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as the European Court Of Human Rights (ECHR).
The Council’s membership includes 46 European countries, 27 of which are also members of the European Union.
- Russia was a member but was expelled by the Council in March 2022 following its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
- Belarus had ‘special guest status’ of the Council but was also suspended, due to its lack of respect for human rights and democratic principles.
In 1983, the European Parliament democratically decided to adopt the Council’s flag of Europe for the European Community, later to be renamed the European Union. In 1985, all the leaders of the Community’s member states – including the then British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher – democratically endorsed the decision. The European Union’s institutions began to use the flag in 1986.
So, Ms Truss, get this straight: this is the flag of ALL of Europe, and not just the EU.
NOTE: If Britain leaves the European Convention on Human Rights – as desired by new Home Secretary, Suella Braverman – then the UK could no longer be a member of the Council of Europe, alongside Russia and Belarus.
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