Brussels accuses Eurovision of "discrediting" the European flag

Brussels will not let the "incomprehensible" and "unfortunate" decision of the organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest to veto the entry of the European flag into the venue in Malmö (Sweden) that hosted the final of the music contest, pass by without further ado.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
14 May 2024 Tuesday 05:53
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Brussels accuses Eurovision of "discrediting" the European flag

Brussels will not let the "incomprehensible" and "unfortunate" decision of the organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest to veto the entry of the European flag into the venue in Malmö (Sweden) that hosted the final of the music contest, pass by without further ado. Saturday, an edition marked by geopolitical controversies.

"I would like them to explain to me the reasoning behind this decision and to attribute responsibilities to those who are responsible", claims the vice-president of the European Commission for the Promotion of the European Way of Life, Margaritis Skhinàs, in the tough letter sent yesterday to the top of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The "incoherent" decision to veto the European flag "left millions of television viewers wondering what and who the music contest represents", says Skhinàs, who accuses the organization of "discrediting" the European emblem and "darkening" a joyous occasion for Europeans.

Like thousands of spectators, Skhinàs learned during the broadcast of the festival on social networks that the security officials of the venue had forced to leave out the EU flags that some members had brought to the festival, where other times he had seen the blue ensign with the twelve yellow stars waved with absolute naturalness. After all, as the letter points out, it has been 70 years since Eurovision embodied values ​​similar to those defended by the European Union, such as diversity and cultural cooperation.

However, the last edition of the festival normality was not exactly the norm. The explanation that the EBU has given through the spokesmen is that the event's security staff had a list of all the flags they could admit inside the enclosure in which only those of the participating countries appear plus the ensign of the rainbow representing the LGTBIQ community, and which this time was simply applied "more rigorously" due to "increased geopolitical tensions", but there was no explicit veto of the European flag . As it did, unsuccessfully, with regard to its decision to allow Israel to participate while its Government carries out a bloody military offensive in Gaza, the EBU asserts that this is an apolitical decision, but with its explanations – on the absence of the flag – Brussels has not had enough.

"Less than a month before the European elections and in times of geopolitical turbulence, in which the EU is under attack 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 body, Delphine Ernotte Cunci, and to Martin Österdahl, executive supervisor of the festival. "In the future, I would like to see more respect for the values ​​of peace, tolerance and inclusion," says Skhinàs.

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