Liz Truss demanded that ‘no EU flags’ should be shown at the Prague meeting of European leaders on Thursday. 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 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.
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 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.
All the leaders of the Community’s member states – including the then British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher – democratically endorsed the decision.
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 MP – then we could no longer be a member of the Council of Europe.
Jon Danzig is a campaigning journalist and film maker who specialises in writing about health, human rights, and Europe. He is also founder of the pro-EU information campaign, Reasons2Rejoin. You can follow Jon Danzig on his Facebook journalism page at www.Facebook.com/JonDanzigWrites