Paris officials REMOVE EU flag from Arc de Triomphe after furious accusations that the stunt was ‘erasing’ French identity
- The flag was raised on New Year’s Eve, replacing the tricolore temporarily
- Was installed to mark France’s turn at the rotating presidency of the EU Council
- Was removed today after political opponents of Macron accused him of ‘erasing’ French identity
- But official at French presidency said EU flag was always going to be taken down after two days
Officials today removed an EU flag installation from the Arc de Triomphe in Paris after political rivals of Macron accused him of ‘erasing’ French identity.
The European Union flag was raised in place of the tricolore temporarily on New Year’s Eve at the monument.
It marks France’s turn at the rotating presidency of the EU Council, which it will hold for the next six months.
Blue lights will also illuminate the arch, a war monument and other landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower for the rest of this week.
However, President Emmanuel Macron’s right-wing political rivals for spring elections reacted with fury to the removal of the tricolore flag at the Arc de Triomphe to make way for the EU flag.
They called it an ‘affront’ to France’s heritage and its veterans.
But an official at the French presidency today 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.’
The European Union flag was raised in place of the Tricolore temporarily on New Year’s Eve at the monument (pictured)
Valerie Pecresse, conservative candidate, who could be Macron’s main challenger in the upcoming election, tweeted in opposition to the EU flag: ‘Preside over Europe yes, erase French identity no!’
Macron was urged to restore the French flag at the Arc by the candidate, who said: ‘We owe it to our soldiers who spilled their blood for it.’
The far-right candidate Marine Le Pen called the removal of the EU flag a victory for patriotism.
When the EU flag was first installed at the Arc, she had vowed to file a complaint with the State Council, the highest court in France for administrative matters.
She claimed on Twitter that a ‘massive mobilisation’ had meant Macron had to backtrack.
Clement Beaune, Europe Minister, said on Saturday that the right were ‘desperately chasing after the sterile controversies of the far right.’
Blue lights will also illuminate the arch (pictured), a war monument and other landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower for the rest of this week
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