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European Union

The flag of Europe consists of a circle of 12 golden (yellow) stars on an azure background. It is the flag and emblem of the Council of Europe (CoE) and the European Union (EU). It is also often used to indicate eurozone countries, and, more loosely, to represent the continent of Europe or the countries of Europe independent of any of these institutions. The number of stars does not vary according to the members of either organisation as they are intended to represent all the peoples of Europe, including those outside the EU.

The flag was designed in 1955 for the CoE as its symbol, and the CoE urged it to be adopted by other organisations. In 1985 the EU, which was then the European Economic Community (EEC), adopted it as its own flag (having had no flag of its own before) at the initiative of the European Parliament. The flag is not mentioned in the EU's treaties, its incorporation being dropped along with the European Constitution, but it is formally adopted in law.

The flag has also been used to represent Europe in sporting events and as a pro-democracy banner outside the Union. It has partly inspired other flags, such as those of other European organisations and those of states where the EU has been heavily involved (such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo).




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