Friday

26th May 2017

France complains over EU birthday logo

  • The EU's birthday logo will be presented in all EU official languages (Photo: European Community)

(Updated 10.11.2006 - 17:21 CET) - France has sent an official complaint to the European Commission over the EU's 50th birthday logo to be used next year, suggesting that it fails to symbolize European unity as it looks different in every language.

The move comes after a jury representing EU institutions and member states last month chose an image created by a Polish art student stating colourful letters "Together since 1957", from around 1700 submissions to the contest.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The logo is meant to be translated to all EU languages, so it can be used across the union next year for various activities marking the anniversary of the 1957 Rome Treaty which set the ground for the current 25-member union.

But French Europe minister Catherine Colonna has criticised the plan in a letter to the commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.

"The logo creates a problem. The message of European unity is not there because each logo is different," she wrote, according to a weblog of French daily Liberation.

Doubts on the logo emerged in France after well-known philosopher Barbara Cassin wrote in a comment in Le Monde that the logo is just the opposite to how Europe should want to define itself, arguing the design mainly resembles search engine Google's logo also containing a letter R in a circle - as if Europe was a commercial product.

Some commentators also complained that the EU institutions only use the English version of the logo on their websites, with an association for defending the French language criticising the commission for generally using English in most of its posters in Brussels buildings.

EU communication commissioner Margot Wallstrom responded this week by saying that in her view, the winning design looks "fresh, light, modern and unbureaucratic."

"I have seen some pedantic criticism in the usual quarters saying that the EU has not been together since 1957. For me, that misses the point," she said, according to UK daily The Times.

'Flop'

But Paris is not the only capital where the commission-picked logo has sparked irritation, EU diplomats told EUobserver.

The Finnish EU presidency is annoyed with the fact that it was not at any time consulted by Brussels over the emblem - despite several requests to be involved.

Germany, which will hold the EU presidency next year, is not unhappy with the logo itself but will not use it for most of its grand anniversary festivities - such as cakebaking and a street event in Berlin.

Berlin prefers its own presidency logo - to be unveiled early next month - and says it does not want to use two emblems at the same time.

One EU diplomat said about the anniversary logo chaos "It is a flop, a catastrophe. It shows what happens when countries are not consulted and the commission goes its own way" - despite member states having been represented in the jury by a high official of the EU council [member states' secretariat.]

Last month, member states ditched commission plans to hold big joint birthday festivities and instead agreed with only two, more modest, plans - the appointment of citizens' ambassadors explaining the relevance of the EU as well as a series of activities for school children and youngsters.

These two limited activities will be mostly organised by the commission and parliament representations in the member states, with individual countries set to go ahead with their own parties such as cake-baking (Germany) and tree planting (Estonia).

MEPs vote to start democracy probe on Hungary

The European Parliament took the first step towards launching the Article 7 procedure against Hungary for backsliding on democracy. The process might lead to sanctions, but Orban is not backing down.

MEPs preparing to crack down on Orban

The EU assembly's largest group is split by its "enfant terrible", but enough MEPs are likely to abstain or vote Yes on the "Article 7" crackdown over Orban's illiberal rule.

Macron and Merkel to 'reconstruct' the EU

The French and German leaders will present a common proposal to deepen and strengthen the EU and the eurozone. They say they are ready to change the EU treaties.

Schulz fails to beat Merkel in German home state

Former EU parliament leader, Martin Schulz, says the defeat of his social-democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia is "difficult". The elections showed that a "Schulz effect" does not (yet) exist.

Austria heading for snap elections

Foreign minister Kurz has taken leadership of the conservative party in what could lead to an alliance with the far-right.

News in Brief

  1. Malloch will not be US ambassador to the EU
  2. 'Significant' drop in EU migration to UK
  3. Bomb injures former Greek PM
  4. British PM to speak out on US terrorism leaks
  5. Tusk calls for 'values, not just interests' after Trump meeting
  6. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  7. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  8. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms