50th anniversary of the European flag
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Poster of the 50th anniversary
Twelve stars, fifty years...

Nowadays it flies throughout our continent, the blue flag bearing twelve golden stars which has reached the age of 50. For half a century, it has been symbolic of Europe's ambition and its reality.

Ever since being adopted by the Council of Europe and its then 14 member states in 1955, the European flag has been an expression of the will of a growing number of states and peoples to work together to build peace and prosperity in a continent where the common values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law prevail and where full advantage is taken of diversity.

In 1986, the European Communities (now the European Union) also adopted the same flag, as they used their own political and institutional methods to pursue the same fundamental aim. (more...)

Celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the European flag

The ceremony was held on 16 November 2005, on the forecourt outside the Council of Europe, in the presence of the Heads of the Organisation, the President of the European Parliament, Josep Borell, and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso. A giant flag, large enough to be mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records, measuring 46 metres by 25 and symbolising the 46 member states of the Council of Europe and the 25 member states of the European Union, was laid out in front of the Palais de l’Europe. (more...)

The circle of twelve golden stars against a blue background symbolises the peoples of Europe, with the circle representing their union. The number of stars never changes - it is always twelve, symbolising the ideals of unity and harmony and bringing to mind the months of the year and the twelve signs of the zodiac.

Photos of the European flag can be downloaded in high resolution on the Multimedia Portal. They are copyright-free with the mention ©Council of Europe.
TV Spot
Radio Spot 1
Radio Spot 2
More information
Photo gallery
Photos of the ceremony can be downloaded on the Council of Europe website in professional format.
Multimedia portal
  Full list of the speeches
  in brief...
The European flag: questions and answers
How the twelve stars were born
A symbol for Europe
Technical characteristics
Download the poster of the 50th anniversary (pdf)

The Council of Europe and the European Commission make sure that the European symbols are used in an appropriately dignified manner and may take any necessary measures to combat their improper use.
Graphic guide and downloading of the flag
  see also

Selection of rejected projects of the European flag
Council of Europe symbols