Sometimes we need to dig around the roots to find what kind of tree is growing. The EU flag so proudly and prominently displayed everywhere is a puzzle to some. What does it signify? Why is it blue? Why are there twelve stars? What is its origin?
Going to the official EU site won’t help you! They kind of admit with a noncommittal shrug that they don’t really know. They come up with a lame excuse about unity: “The 12 stars in a circle symbolise the ideals of unity, solidarity and harmony among the peoples of Europe.” Uh-huh. OOOkaay!
One of the earliest attempts at European integration was called the European Council. As an organization, it made few policy contributions, but in 1955, they came up with a design for a flag that all member states could agree upon. This task proved so arduous that even after the European Council was absorbed by the predecessor to the European Union, members decided to keep the original design.
On May 29, 1986, the 12-starred flag was relaunched as the flag of Europe. [Source]
In this video, journalist Michael Hobbes explains the process of coming up with the seemingly simple design. It’s brief, instructional and watchable, but some of his explanations depend on the official explanation not the real one, and some of his comments are without any foundation at all. Like, the colour blue was chosen because every other colour was taken. (huh?) Watch it anyway, it’s fun. Continue reading