France now officially flies the European flag.
French President Emmanuel Macron told European Council President Donald Tusk that France will recognize the EU’s flag and anthem as official symbols of the European Union.
“France intends today to associate itself” to a declaration recognizing the EU flag and anthem, which was signed by 16 EU countries in 2007, Macron wrote in a letter to Tusk dated October 16, that POLITICO has obtained.
It’s a mainly symbolic step but a welcome one in Brussels where leaders gather for a summit on Thursday and Friday, and have been urged by Tusk to aim for unity around the EU flag.
Particularly welcome for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will be that Macron’s letter includes the acknowledgement that the euro is “the currency of the European Union,” a claim Juncker made during his State of the EU speech in September. Macron presented his own plans for ambitious EU reforms earlier this month, and his ideas form the core of a new leaders’ agenda for 2018-2019 to be put forward by Tusk at the summit on Friday.
Macron, who waived the blue-and-gold EU flag during his campaign, chose the European anthem to accompany him as he marched in victory into the Louvre esplanade after his election in May.
Although the letter’s language is technical, Macron got personal at the end, writing “amitié” and signing “Manu.”
“In this perspective, I would like the following declaration to be included in the minutes of the European Council meeting of October 19 and 2o,” Macron wrote.
The text to be included reads: “The flag with a circle of 12 golden stars on a blue background, the anthem based on the ‘Ode to Joy’ from the Ninth Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven, the motto ‘United in diversity,’ the euro as the currency of the European Union and Europe Day on 9 May will, for France, continue as symbols to express the sense of community of the people in the European Union and their allegiance to it.”
Macron told Tusk he’d be ready — “if you think it’s necessary or even just helpful” — to tell other leaders of his plan personally.
France didn’t join the EU’s official flag club after the French rejected what was supposed to be an EU constitutional treaty in 2005.