“United in diversity” is the written banner under which the European Union has thrived for the last decades. The symbolistic banner of this organization is represented by the Flag of Europe, consisting of twelve five-pointed golden stars on a blue field. The design is known all around the world, but few people have an idea about the history behind its creation.
Ever since its foundation in 1949, the Council of Europe – an international organization meant to uphold human rights, democracy, and the rule of law - sought to offer our continent a symbol with which the inhabitants could identify. Their intention finally saw the light of day on the 25th of October 1955, when the Parliamentary Assembly approved the emblem of a circle of gold stars that we know in the present.
Later, in 1983, the European Parliament adopted the flag and recommended that it became the symbol of all European Communities. The Council gave its approval, and the EU began using the flag in 1986. From that moment onwards, the banner become synonymous with the shared intention of all involved countries of keeping the peace and uniting the communities regardless of race or culture. In the description given by the EU in 1996, the design was seen as: “On an azure field a circle of twelve golden mullets, their points not touching”.
It has long been agreed by the EU that the flag symbolizes both the organization itself and the identity of the continent. Over the years, the emblem became the most recognizable sign of the political and economical alliance between all states in this part of the globe.
The chosen colors of gold amidst a blue background suggest a representation of the stars against the sky, their hues symbolizing glory and enlightenment. The stars’ arrangement can be seen as both the constellation of Corona Borealis – highlighting the stability of the government, and as the form of a circle, a sign of the union between the peoples of Europe. The figure of twelve implies perfection and entirety, two aspects the EU prides itself on. The number of stars does not represent the number of states that are part of the alliance, as there are 27 countries involved in the political and economical union. The blue background resembles the sky and symbolizes truth and the human intellect. Some also claim that the color is traditionally used the depict the Virgin Mary, further solidifying the EU’s strive to unite all countries – not in spite of the cultural or religious aspects, but because of them.
The European Union continues to fight for its national objectives, with all countries allying under a blue banner decorated with twelve golden stars. The 9th of May is just another piece of this united puzzle, meant to mark the peace and harmony symbolized by our Flag of Europe.