Selection 

[Last update: 1 April 2009]

European flag

 
 
In December 1955 the Committee of Ministers chose the flag of 12 stars on an azure background as the European Flag. The European Community adopted the same flag in 1986.
 
 
triangle Selected documents from the Council of Europe Archives

triangle Selected flag designs

triangle Brief chronology

triangle Notes and links
 
 

triangle Selected documents from the Council of Europe Archives

Reference

Date

Description

Document [fr]

23 August 1949

Proposal from Camille Manné (Founder of the SICOP printing firm, Bischheim, Alsace)

Document 4 [fr]

23 November 1949

Levy to Paris (Secretary General) on the need for a European flag

Document 5 [fr]

19 January 1950

Levy to Paris (Secretary General) on having a cross on the European flag

Document 4 [fr]

5 June 1950

Coudenhove-Kalergi to Paris (Secretary General) on using the Red Cross of the United States of Europe

Document 124

27 July 1950

Coudenhove-Kalergi to Council of Europe on using the Red Cross of the United States of Europe

Document 39 [fr]

29 July 1950

Levy to Guy Mollet on the flag of the European Movement

Document 48 [fr]

6 November 1950

Wirion (Luxembourg) to Levy, proposals for a flag

Document 49 [fr]

10 November 1950

Levy's reply to Wirion on the 8-pointed star. He will transmit the proposals to the Assembly

Document 50 [fr]

10 November 1950

Levy to Coudenhove-Kalergi, on proceeding with caution

Document 59

January 1951

J. Dynan (Associated Press) to Levy, proposals for a flag

Document 60

13 January 1951

J. Dynan (Associated Press) to Levy, more proposals for a flag

Document 62

18 January 1951

Levy to Mrs Dynan on her proposal for a flag

Document 65 [fr]

25 January 1951

Wirion to Levy on different types of cross

Document 149 [fr]

26 September 1951

Levy to Antoine Fischer (Saisons d'Alsace?) on 12 proposals for a flag

Document 162 [fr]

15 October 1951

Arsène Heitz to Levy, proposing a Red Cross

Document 177

11 December 1951

Memo from Levy on first results of Assembly referendum. Coudenhove-Kalergi's proposal gets most votes but there are British and Turkish objections to a cross.

Document 176 [fr]

16 December 1951

Extract of letter from George Coedes on the Turks and the cross

Document 181 [fr]

5 January 1952

Heitz to Caracciolo (Clerk of the Assembly), proposing red cross on green background, after Charlemagne’s standard

Document 182 [fr]

25 January 1952

Madariaga to Levy proposing a flag of gold stars on a blue background

Document 185

6 February 1952

Levy's reply to Madariaga

Document 189 [fr]

13 February 1952

Madariaga to Levy sending 250 copies of his design

Document 190 [fr]

13 February 1952

Levy to Martin (Musées de Strasbourg) giving the result of the Assembly referendum

Document 192

15 February 1952

Letter from Caracciolo (Clerk of the Assembly) giving the result of the Assembly referendum

Document 195 [fr]

February? 1952

Levy to Madariaga on Turkish opposition to a cross 

Document 203 [fr]

27 March 1952

Levy to Coudenhove-Kalergi on Turkish opposition to a cross 

Document 204 [fr]

15 April 1952

Coudenhove-Kalergi's reply to Levy, proposing cross with crescent added

Document 205 [fr]

12 May 1952

Levy to Coudenhove-Kalergi on how to proceed with his crescent proposal

Document 207 [fr]

17 May 1952

Coudenhove-Kalerg  to Levy with copy of a memo to Cauwelaert (Chair of Assembly Committee) on his crescent proposal

Document 213 [fr]

16 June 1952

Hayta (Turkish Embassy) to Levy on the Turkish flag

Document 214 [fr]

18 June 1952

Levy to Coudenhove-Kalergi on recent developments concerning the flag

Document 215 [fr]

June 1952

Levy to Hayta on the Turkish flag

Document 216 [fr]

June 1952

Levy to Cauwelaert, cover note to accompany his (lost?) note on the problem of the European flag 

Document 223 [fr]

18 July 1952

Meris to Levy, requesting a copy of his study from Saisons d'Alsace 

Document 224 [fr]

19 August 1952

Levy's reply to Meris : Turkish opposition has caused him to make a new proposal to the Assembly

Document

25 September 1953

Heraldic description of the design adopted by the Assembly

Document 257 [fr]

1 October 1953

Levy to Gromand (European Defense Community) on the Assembly's choice of flag

Document 273 [fr]

January? 1954

Internal memo (French) giving history of the European flag question

Document 274 [fr]

1953?

Internal memo (French) on the European flag and the question of the Sarre region

Document 298

December 1953

Hallstein (Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Germany) to Secretary General, pointing out that only the Committee of Ministers has the power to adopt a Council of Europe emblem.

Document [fr]

15 December 1954

New proposal from Coudenhove-Kalergi to S. Stephanopoulos, chair of the Committee of Ministers

Document [fr]

12 February 1959

Robert Schuman to Levy, supporting the 12-star flag as a European emblem

 
 

triangle Selected flag designs

The Council of Europe archives contain over 200 designs for the European flag that were submitted to the Secretariat in the period 1949-1955.

 

Date

Description

1

1923

Drapeau du mouvement paneuropéen - Bleu à croix rouge sur disque d’or

2

1930

Projet de drapeau pour les Etats Unis d’Europe ("Union Stati Europa")

3

23/8/1949

Drapeau du projet Manné

4

1/12/1951

Proposition de drapeau de Salvador de Madariaga

5

?

Dessin représentant le drapeau de l’union paneuropéenne modifié

6

5/1/1952

Dessin de Heitz (28) - Etendard remis par le pape Léon III à Charlemagne

7

?

Dessin de Heitz (6) - Drapeau vert à croix rouge

8

15/11/1952

Dessin de Heitz (5) - Drapeau bleu avec en haut à gauche le drapeau turque entouré d’étoile

9

?

Dessin anonyme - 4 croquis de drapeaux respectant un même schéma drapeau bleu avec en haut à gauche les couleurs de l’Etat confédéré et un losange composé de 15 étoiles blanches

10

15/11/1952

Dessin de Heitz (21) - Drapeau bleu avec les couleurs anglaises en haut à gauche et au centre 15 étoiles disposées en deux cercles concentriques

11

15/11/1952

Dessin de Heitz (22) - Drapeau bleu avec les couleurs françaises en haut à gauche et au centre 15 étoiles disposées en deux cercles concentriques

12

1953

Drapeau azur à 15 étoiles - Drapeau bleu avec les couleurs italiennes en haut à gauche et au centre des étoiles entourée d’une couronne de "lauriers"

13

29/03/1953

Dessin de Heitz (9)

14

12/11/1954

Dessin de Heitz (30) - Drapeau bleu avec une étoile jaune à huit branches dans un disque rouge

15

25/12/1954

Dessin de Heitz (2) - Drapeau bleu avec en son centre une rose des vents rouge et blanche à huit branches

16

11/09/1955

Dessin de Heitz (25) - Drapeau bleu avec en son centre une étoile entourée de douze étoiles secondaires

November 2003 photos

- Anon

- Robert Poucher, Paris

- Eric Muller, Wiesbaden

- Anon

 
 

triangle Brief chronology

Date

Meeting

Reference/source

Event

Autumn 1949

 

(source: CM(54)48)
1949 Bureau minutes? (lost?)

The Secretary General asks the Bureau of the Assembly to examine the question of a flag. The Bureau decides that this does not fall within its competence.

23 June 1950

 

(source: CM(54)48)

Committee on General Affairs asks Secretary General for report suggesting measures to make the public aware of the reality of European Union.

27 July 1950

 

archive document 124 &
Design Flag

Count Koudenhove-Kalergi (European Parliamentary Union) proposes to Secretary General that the Council of Europe adopt the emblem (Red Cross) of the European Movement.

23 August 1950

 

Doc.85

Report of the Assembly Committee on General Affairs, supports the idea of a European flag.

28 August 1950

Assembly debate

(Doc.85)
Res.16

Assembly decides to study flag proposals in a subcommittee

16 July 1951

 

AS/RPPII(3)2
français

Secretariat memorandum summarising 12 shortlisted proposals (a) to (l), indicating their provenance

26 July 1951

Meeting AS/RPP

AS/RPPII(3)PV1

Committee examines the proposals in AS/RPP II (3) 2, hears an exposé from Levy and asks Secretariat to prepare a further memorandum summarising the same proposals

15 October 1951

 

AS/RPP(3)13
français

Secretariat memorandum summarising proposals numbered 1 to 12

27 November 1951

Meeting AS/RPP

AS/RPP(3)PV8

The Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges decides to seek the opinion of the Reprresentatives of the Assembly before proceeding further.

December 1951

Assembly session

(source: AS/RPP(5)1; archive document 192)

The 12 proposals are transmitted to the Assembly.

25 January 1952

 

(sources: Levy’s reply, archive document 185 [fr]; CM(54)48)

Letter from Madariaga to Levy proposing blue flag with gold stars.

13 February 1952

 

archive document 192

Letter from Clerk of the Assembly to Representatives of the Assembly giving the results of the referendum, mentioning British and Turkish opposition to a cross. 48 questionnaires were returned.

? 1952

 

(source: CM(54)48)

Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges requests Secretary General to submit a further report. Owing to pressure of work, the Committee is unable to examine this until May 1953.

19 August 1952

 

archive document 224 [fr]

Levy mentions in a letter that, because of Turkish opposition to a cross, he is making a new (lost?) proposal to the Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges

11 May 1953

 

AS/RPP(5)1

Secretariat memorandum summarising history of the flag question.
Mentions Turkish opposition to the cross and the new proposal from Madariaga for gold stars on a blue background

20 May 1953

Meeting AS/RPP

AS/RPP(5)PV2

After an exposé from Levy, the committee provisionnally approves a design of gold stars on a blue (azure) background and appoints Bichet as rapporteur.

17 September 1953

Meeting AS/RPP

AS/RPP(5)3
AS/RPP(5)PV3

Draft report by Bichet argues for a white flag of 15 green stars. The committee decides against this, opting for gold stars on a blue (azure) background.

25 September 1953

Assembly debate

AS(5)CR23 (debate)
Doc.198
Res.41

Rec.56

Assembly adopts 15 point star as its own emblem and recommends that the CM adopt the same as an emblem for the Council of Europe as a whole.
German Representative raises the issue of the status of the Sarre region (see archive document 274). At the request of Mr Kiesinger, the word "nations" was replaced by "members" in the emblem description.

December 1953

 

archive document 298
français

Hallstein (Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Germany) to Secretary General, pointing out that only the Committee of Ministers has the power to adopt a Council of Europe emblem.

19 March 1954

 

CM(54)48
français

Secretariat Memorandum on the choice of an emblem for the Council of Europe. Makes distinction between flag and emblem.

15 May 1954

 

Concl(54)20
CM(54)99

Deputies adopt proposal in CM(54)99 to refer the question to the Joint Committee and ask the Assembly to suspend use of the 15-star flag

19 May 1954

Meeting of Joint Committee

CM/AS(54)PV1 and Appendix I

Joint Committee concludes:
- the Assembly will suspend its use of the 15-star emblem
- an emblem must be adopted for the whole Organisation as soon as possible
- the Assembly will be associated with this work which will be undertaken by the Committee of Ministers

18 August 1954

 

CM(54)140

Letter from German government to Secretary General, proposing the creation of a committee of 3 members of the Assembly and 3 heraldic experts.

7 September 1954

23rd meeting of Deputies

Concl(54)23

Deputies decide to form an ad-hoc committee, to report to them, comprising 3 members of the Assembly (Bichet, Erler and Wistrand) and 3 heraldic experts nominated by Ireland, Italy and Netherlands.

12 November 1954

Meeting of Ad-Hoc committee EXP/EM

CM(54)189

The Ad-hoc committee meets and chooses a blue flag with 8 interlocking rings, a design submitted by the Secretariat.

?

 

(source: Larcher [fr])

Deputies reject the rings

12 January 1955

27th meeting of Deputies

Concl(55)27/10(h)

Secretariat displays a collection of designs for the Deputies, prepared by the Secretariat

12 March 1955

28th meeting of Deputies

Concl(55)28/12
Design Flag

Secretariat presents 2 proposals retained from the previous meeting of the Deputies:
- a circle of 12 gold stars on azur background (proposal by Arsène Heitz)
- a semée of gold stars on azur background
(proposal by Salvador de Madariaga?)
Deputies decide to forward both to the Joint Committee, but to indicate their preference at their next meeting

24 April 1955

29th meeting of Deputies

Concl(55)29

Deputies indicate their preference for the 12-star flag. Both options are sent to the Assembly for a final decision

 

Meeting of AS/RPP

(source: Larcher)

The Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges supports the 12-star flag

25 October 1955

Assembly session

Doc.443
Rec.88

The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers adopt the 12-star flag

9 December 1955

Meeting of Deputies

Concl(55)36/3
Res(55)32

français

Deputies adopt the 12-star flag and accompanying heraldic description

13 December 1955

Session of Committee of Ministers, Château de la Muette, Paris

(source: Larcher [fr])

Official presentation of the flag by the Chair of the Committee of Ministers.

17 February 1986

Meeting of Deputies

Concl(86)393/4
français

Deputies “take note with satisfaction” of the decision of the European Community to use the European Flag and Anthem.

 

 

triangle Notes and links

Links

Council of Europe European Flag page
E.U. European Emblem website
Flags of the World (Council of Europe / E.U. flag)
Robert Bichet archive

Bibliography

BICHET, Robert : Le Drapeau de l’Europe. – Besançon : Jacques et Demontrond, 1985
GOLDNER, Markus : Politische Symbole der europäischen Integration. - Frankfurt : Peter Lang, 1988
LARCHER, Aloïs : Le Drapeau de l’Europe et l’Hymne Européen – Strasbourg : Council of Europe, 1995
LEVY, Paul M.G. and MARTIN, Paul : Un Drapeau pour l’Europe – In : Saisons d’Alsace, no.3, 1950
KOWALSKI,  Krysztof: Europa: mity, modele, symbole - Kraków: Miedzynarodowe Centrum Kultury, 2002. ISBN: 83-892739-91-2

Photo

Robert Bichet with other members of the European Movement at the 1949 Brussels Conference