The Flag of Europe

The Flag of Europe was created in 1955 for the Council of Europe and adopted by the 12 nations of the then European Community in the 1980’s and hence has evolved in 1993 to be the familiar flag and emblem of the European Union, finally for all 28 nations..

Council of Europe flag
Council of Europe flag, created 1955.

The 12 gold stars on a blue background stand for the ideals of unity, solidarity and harmony among the peoples of Europe. The number of stars has nothing to do with the number of member countries, however, it is clear that the circle is a symbol of unity. 

Arsene Heitz, who designed the flag, said that his inspiration had been the reference in the Bible’s New Testament to a “woman clothed with the sun . . . and a crown of twelve stars on her head” (Revelation 12:1).  Blue was the colour of Mary and the twelve stars a reference to the Virgin Mary.  Importantly, he felt that for Europe’s Catholics and Lutherans it represented lasting reconciliation and peace across the continent for the first time since the Reformation.

It was recognised and publicised when the UK ceased to be a member of the EU on the 31st January 2020 that one of those stars could be identified as “OURS”, ie a single star would still represent the ideals and values inherent in the European Union, and also what the UK has lost, and this would act as a talisman for those who feel European and wish to be part of that Union.