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European Union: Legal use of the flag
Last modified: 2002-12-07 by ivan sache
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Mandatory use of the flag
The legal use of the European Union flag has become mandatory in
the following cases:
- for every official speaches by the President or Head of
government whose country currently holds the presidency of the
- though not strictly official, it is also always used for every
international meeting between Heads of governments of any European
Union country and non European Union country (look for example the
constant use of the European Union flag associated with the
national French and American flags when G.W.Bush recently came in
France to honor the Second World War Memorial Day in Normandy).
- in most European countries, there are regulations that mandate
using the European Union flag in addition to the country flag on
the front door of police stations, administrations, national and
- on motorized vehicles registration numbering plates, where the
European Union flag is presented in a 2:3 vertical box on the left
side with the uppercase letters code of the vehicle registration
country (A, D, F, I, B, LUX, NL , GB, IRL, DK, E, P, GR, FI, S).
The European Union flag has its official colors on the top half of
the box, and the white letters are on the bottom half of the box
with the same blue background and a text size whose largest
dimension matches the diameter of the circle of stars. For
manufacturing costs reasons of these plates, it is admitted that
the stars have a white color instead of gold, or that the letters
use the same gold color as stars, but the blue background is
mandatory. Most car plates use gold stars and white letters. The
other parts of the plate are not modified and correspond to the
existing national legislation for their colors (though it seems
that the new scheme for the numbers is black on reflecting gold).
With the European Union flag with the country letters on the
plate, it is no longer necessary to use the large oval sticker
with the country initials when crossing borders within the
European Union. Only the rear plate must use this flag. The front
plate may use a simpler design. There is no need to change the
existing numbering plates, only newly registered vehicles are
Philippe Verdy, 4 June 2002
Protection of the flag
USE BY THIRD PARTIES
The European emblem may be used only if :
- there is no likelihood of the user of the emblem being
confused with the European Community or the Council of Europe;
- the emblem is not used in connection with objectives or
activities which are incompatible with the aims and principles of
the European Community or of the Council of Europe.
Permission to use the European emblem does not confer on those to
whom it is granted any right of exclusive use, nor does it allow them
to appropriate the emblem or any similar trademark or logo, either by
registration or any other means.
Each case will be examined individually to ascertain whether it
satisfies the criteria set out above. This will be unlikely in a
commercial context if the European emblem is used in conjunction with
a company's own logo, name or trade mark.
- European Commission, Secretariat-General, Directorate
'Coordination I", rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 200, B-1049 Brussels.
Tel. (+32-2) 296 26 26; fax (+32-2) 296 59 60; e-mail:
- Council of Europe, Directorate General I Legal Affairs,
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex. Tel. (+33-3) 88 41 20 00; fax (+33 3) 88
41 37 39; e-mail: email@example.com
Gerard van der Vaart, 10 October 2001
The graphical chart for the flag to be used in the aforementioned
permitted instances is available
French. There are probably similar pages in the different
official languages of the European Union.
Note that the chart covers printed flags only, and that there
should be no black and white European flag flying anywhere.
Ivan Sache, 9 October 2001