Sunday

23rd Feb 2020

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

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).

German ex-commissioner Oettinger lands Orban job

Hungary's PM Viktor Orban appointed controversial former commissioner Guenther Oettinger to a government council in a way that might break EU rules. Oettinger claims he did not know about the appointment.

EU leaders face major clash on rule of law budget link

One major issue dividing member states in the ongoing budget negotiations is inserting a direct link between EU subsidies and the rule of law. While the biggest battle will be over figures, the rule of law conditionality also creates tension.

Analysis

Is Belgium heading for new elections?

Belgian coalition talks have hit a wall nine months after elections, posing the possibility of a new vote, which risks making the country even harder to govern.

Central Europe mayors join in direct EU funds plea

They call themselves the "Pact of Free Cities". The mayors of Budapest, Bratislava, Prague and Warsaw want EU funds to bypass their governments, in order to fight climate change and populism.

Analysis

German domestic turmoil prolongs EU leadership gap

A leadership contest is back on in German chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling CDU party - which could decide not only the centre-right's future but also Germany's European policy. Berlin has been absent from the EU and will likely remain so.

Salvini relishes possible migration 'kidnapping' trial

The Italian Senate will vote on Wednesday whether the far-right leader Matteo Salvini should be brought to court for 'kidnapping' 131 migrants last year, when as the interior minister he refused to allow them disembarking in an Italian port.

News in Brief

  1. Bulgarian PM investigated over 'money laundering'
  2. Greenpeace breaks into French nuclear plant
  3. Germany increases police presence after shootings
  4. NGO: US and EU 'watering-down' tax reform prior to G20
  5. Iran: parliamentary elections, conservatives likely to win
  6. Belgian CEOs raise alarm on political crisis
  7. Germans voice anger on rise of far-right terrorism
  8. EU leaders' budget summit drags on overnight

Five new post-Brexit MEPs to watch

Five MEPs to keep an eye on from the 27 new members who are joining the European Parliament this week, following the UK's departure from the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. No breakthrough at EU budget summit
  2. EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock
  3. German ex-commissioner Oettinger lands Orban job
  4. How big is Germany's far-right problem?
  5. Plastic and carbon proposals to help plug Brexit budget gap
  6. Sassoli repeats EU budget rejection warning
  7. Why Miroslav Lajčák is the wrong choice for EU envoy
  8. Unhappy EU leaders begin budget haggle

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us