Brussels accuses Eurovision of “discrediting” the European flag

Brussels is not going to simply let go of the “incomprehensible” and “regrettable” decision of the organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest to veto the entry of the European flag into the Malmö (Sweden) venue that hosted the final of the musical contest last Saturday.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
14 May 2024 Tuesday 04:46
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Brussels accuses Eurovision of “discrediting” the European flag

Brussels is not going to simply let go of the “incomprehensible” and “regrettable” decision of the organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest to veto the entry of the European flag into the Malmö (Sweden) venue that hosted the final of the musical contest last Saturday. an edition marked by geopolitical controversies.

“I would like you to explain to me the reasoning behind this decision and to attribute responsibilities to whomever it corresponds,” claims the vice president of the European Commission for the Promotion of the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, in the harsh letter sent yesterday to the leadership. of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Its “incoherent” decision to veto the European banner “left millions of viewers wondering what and who the musical competition represents,” says Schinas, who accuses the organization of “discrediting” the European emblem and “overshadowing” what should be a joyful occasion for Europeans.

Like thousands of spectators, Schinas found out during the festival's broadcast on social networks that those responsible for security at the venue had forced to leave out the EU flags that some members had brought with them to the festival, where on other occasions they had seen flying with absolute naturalness the blue flag with its twelve yellow stars. After all, as highlighted in the letter, Eurovision has been embodying values ​​similar to those defended by the European Union for 70 years, such as diversity and cultural cooperation.

But in the last edition of the festival, normality was not exactly the norm. The explanation given by the EBU through its spokespersons is that the event's security personnel had a list of all the flags they could admit inside the venue in which only those of the participating countries appear plus the rainbow flag that represents to the LGTBIQ community and that, on this occasion, it was simply applied “more rigorously” due to the “increase in geopolitical tensions”, but there was no explicit veto of the European banner. Just as it did, unsuccessfully, regarding its decision to allow Israel to participate while its Government carries out a bloody military offensive in Gaza, the EBU assures that it is an apolitical decision but its explanations – regarding the absence of the flag – have not been enough for Brussels.

“Less than a month before the European elections and in times of geopolitical turbulence, in which the EU is being attacked by malicious and authoritarian actors, the EBU's decision has contributed to discrediting a symbol that unites all Europeans,” criticizes the vice president of the community executive in the letter addressed to the president of the organization, Delphine Ernotte Cunci, and Martin Österdahl, executive supervisor of the festival. “In the future, I would like to see more deference to the values ​​of peace, tolerance and inclusion,” concludes Schinas.

While the final of the competition was being held, tens of thousands of people in Georgia made clear the evocative power of the EU flag by confronting, wrapped in this flag, the police repression of the protests in Tbilisi against the approval of a law on foreign agents that will distance the country from the community club.