EU flag removed from Arc De Triomphe after Right-wing outrage

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When the EU flag was first installed at the Arc, Marine Le Pen vowed to file a complaint with the State Council, France’s highest court for administrative matters…reports Asian Lite News.

A giant European Union flag attached to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris to mark the start of France’s six-month presidency of the bloc was removed on Sunday after drawing outrage from right-wing leaders. According to BBC, the EU flag was raised in place of the French tricolour on New Year’s Eve in a bid to mark France’s turn as the rotating EU president. Blue lights will also illuminate the arch and other landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower for the rest of this week.

However, French President Emmanuel Macron’s right-wing political rivals for spring elections reacted with fury to the removal of the French flag at the Arc de Triomphe, accusing him of “erasing” French identity. As per the BBC report, they called it an “affront” to France’s heritage and its veterans. Far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who is a candidate in the presidential election in April, said “replacing” the French flag at the monument was an attack on the country’s identity.

When the EU flag was first installed at the Arc, Marine Le Pen vowed to file a complaint with the State Council, France’s highest court for administrative matters. After the EU flag’s removal, she described it as a “victory” resulting from pressure on the government. Separately, Valerie Pecresse, a conservative candidate, who could be Macron’s main challenger in the upcoming election, also objected to the position of the EU flag: “Preside over Europe yes, erase French identity no!”, she tweeted.

An official at the French Presidency, on the other hand, said that the EU flag was meant to only be at the Arc for two days and the removal was in line with the “planned schedule”. European Affairs Minister Clément Beaune denied the government had bowed to pressure from the far-right and said the flag had been taken down as planned. While speaking to France Inter radio, he also pointed out the French flag which is sometimes displayed at the Arc is not a permanent fixture there.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Macron had outlined the priorities of France’s EU presidency based on three principles – strengthening European sovereignty, developing a new model of growth, and creating a Europe closer to its citizens. He said that specific goals included better border protection and management of migration. Improved security, technological innovation and defending the rule of law, are also top priorities, the French President added.

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