EU slams Eurovision for banning its flag from song contest

EU slams Eurovision for banning its flag from song contest
EU slams Eurovision for banning its flag from song contest

The European Union has accused the organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest of “incoherence” for banning its flag from the concert hall during the final in the Swedish city of Malmo.

The European Union on Monday sent an official complaint to the Swiss-based European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes the Eurovision Song Contest, over its refusal to let contestants wave the bloc’s flag at this year’s final in the Swedish city of Malmo.

“Such actions cast a shadow over what is meant to be a joyous occasion for peoples across Europe,” European Commission vice president Margaritis Schinas wrote to in a letter to the EBU.

“With the EU being targeted by malicious and authoritarian actors, EBU’s decision contributed to discrediting a symbol that brings together all Europeans,” he added.

EU asks for explanations

The European Commission said it plans “a very lively discussion” with the organizers over the ban.

Schinas demanded the broadcaster “explain the rationale behind this decision and attribute responsibility where it is due.”

“The incoherence in the EBU’s stance left myself and millions of viewers wondering for what and for whom the Eurovision Song Contest stands,” he wrote.

Schinas was particularly bitter because the ban came just a month before EU-wide parliamentary elections.

Flag ban at Eurovision

There were 25 countries competing in Saturday’s final, but much of the focus was on the controversial issue of Israel’s participation.

Ahead of the final, a spokesperson for the European Broadcasting Union said ticket holders would only be allowed to bring and display flags representing participating countries, as well as the rainbow-colored flag, which symbolizes LGBTQ+ communities.

However, Switzerland’s Nemo, who became the first artist to identify as non-binary to win, snuck in an emblem representing non-binary people and displayed it during the show.

In 2016, the EBU said that the EU flag “will be tolerated” as long as it was not used as “a tool to intentionally make a political statement during the show.”

The EU flag was originally, in 1955, the emblem of the Council of Europe, the pan-European human rights body separate to the EU, spanning Iceland to Azerbaijan. But then in 1983, the European parliament adopted the flag and it went into use at all the bloc’s institutions in 1986.

Source: Dw

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