50th anniversary of the European flag 

A symbol for the whole of Europe

After its foundation in 1949, the Council of Europe soon realised it needed clear symbols to show its commitment to European unity.

The European Flag, adopted in 1955, represents the ideas of European unity and identity. The European Union has used the same flag since 1986.

The flag gained public recognition throughout Europe. At the Universal Exhibition in Brussels in 1958 it was flown on public buildings all over the city.

In 1983 the European Parliament, the elected body of the European Union, in turn adopted the flag devised by the Council of Europe and recommended that it become the emblem of the European Communities. Following the Council of Europe’s consent, in June 1985 the European Council (EU Summit) gave its formal approval.

Since 1986, both the Council of Europe and the European Community (and subsequently, the European Union, following the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty) have been represented by the European flag and emblem. The flag depicting twelve golden stars on a blue background has now become the symbol par excellence of European identity and a united Europe.