CERCLE DIPLOMATIQUE - issue 01/2016

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CD is an independent and impartial magazine and is the medium of communication between foreign representatives of international and UN-organisations based in Vienna and the Austrian political classes, business, culture and tourism. CD features up-to-date information about and for the diplomatic corps, international organisations, society, politics, business, tourism, fashion and culture. Furthermore CD introduces the new ambassadors in Austria and informs about designations, awards and top-events. Interviews with leading personalities, country reports from all over the world and the presentation of Austria as a host country complement the wide range oft he magazine.

LE MONDE PROMOTION

Celebrating Europe Day and Europe‘s Flag

„Against the blue sky of the Western world, the stars represent the peoples

of Europe in a circle, a symbol of unity. Their number shall be invariably set

at twelve, the symbol of completeness and perfection.“

EU-flags in front of the Berlaymont-Building at rue de la Loi/Wetstraat, Brussels, the

European Commission headquarters.

You will encounter it every day and almost

everywhere: in front of public buildings, in

your passport, on Euro-notes and on the license

plate of your car. It is even hidden amongst the

emojis available on your smartphone: the European

flag. Today, the circle of twelve golden stars on dark

blue background is widely recognised as the sign of

the European Union – even beyond its own borders.

This year‘s Europe Day, the 9th of May, there is a special

occasion for celebrating: 2016 marks the 30th

anniversary of the European flag as the symbol of the

European Union.

Originally, the 12-starred flag had exclusively

been the symbol of the Council of Europe, an international

organisation of, today, 47 member states

which is promoting human rights and democracy. It

was only in 1986 when the European Community,

predecessor of the European Union, adopted the

same flag, too.

In the 1950s, the Council of

Europe was looking for a symbol

that would be representative,

unifying and recognizable in order

to spread the message of European

cooperation in a postwar

continent. French painter

Arsène Heitz, an employee of the

Council‘s postal office, submitted

numerous sketches for a flag design.

Among those submissions

one stood out: a flag with fifteen

golden stars (one for every

Council member state of the

time), arranged in a circle, on an

azure blue background. The design

was unanimously accepted.

Finally, however, it was decided

not to link the stars to the number

of member states at all but to

incorporate twelve stars instead,

the symbol of „completeness and

perfection“ in European cultural

history.

On the other hand, the European Communities

– the EU‘s predecessor – never had its generally accepted

official symbol or flag. Therefore, a big green

E on white ground was often used for that purpose. It

required an initiative from the members of the European

Parliament – the directly elected legislative

body of what is now the European Union: They wanted

to highlight the continent‘s new found cooperation

and to settle the question of the emblem once and

for all. After broad approval in the parliament as well

as after receiving permission from the Council of Europe,

the flag of the latter was adopted: on 29 May

1986, the circle of twelve golden stars on the blue

background flew outside the European Commission

building in Brussels for the first time. Today, the European

flag has become the definitive symbol for the

European Union, for Europe and for democracy. It

stands for a union of European countries working

together in cooperation, solidarity and unity, as envisioned

by Robert Schuman.

INFO

On May 9th, Europeans

commemorate the

declaration by French

foreign minister Robert

Schuman who, in 1950,

called for a common

European Coal and Steel

Community, a project that

would eventually develop

into the European Union

we know today. The

common project was

initiated in the wake of

World War II to ensure

that another war between

European nations would

be „not merely

unthinkable, but

materially impossible“.

PHOTO: © EUROPEAN UNION, 2016, ETIENNE ANSOTTE

L'AUTRICHE

DER NAME IST

PROGRAMM. IN

L’AUTRICHE DREHT SICH

ALLES UM DEN STANDORT

ÖSTERREICH, SEINE

WIRTSCHAFT UND SEINE

BEDEUTUNG AUF DEM

INTERNATIONALEN

PARKETT.

THE NAME SAYS IT ALL.

IN L’AUTRICHE THE FOCUS IS

ON AUSTRIA, ITS ECONOMY

AND ITS ROLE ON THE

INTERNATIONAL STAGE.

Vertretung der EU-Kommision in Österreich

Sie finden uns auf Facebook und Twitter

http://ec.europa.eu/austria/index_de.htm

https://www.facebook.com/ekoesterreich

https://twitter.com/EUKommWien

56 Cercle Diplomatique 1/2016

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