Safe Mode: On
I Wonder What Nigel Farage Will Tell The EU To Do With Their Flag?

Sunday, 29 April 2012

An Article in the Daily Mail - Brussels orders EU flag must fly over Whitehall every day... and we could be fined if we fail to comply

Eric Pickles reacted with fury last night after being ordered by Brussels to fly the EU flag continuously over Whitehall.

The Cabinet Minister said the demand showed a ‘deep sense of political
insecurity’ and called on the European Union to ‘grow up’.

Mr Pickles is currently obliged to fly the flag – a circle of 12 golden
stars on an azure background – for a week each year, starting from
Europe Day on May 9.

But under the proposed change, drafted by the European Commission and
due to take effect within the next two years, the flag would have to fly
permanently outside any organisation which managed development funding
from Brussels.

Under the new rules, Mr Pickles, who is Secretary of State for
Communities and Local Government, could even face being fined by the EU
if he fails to comply.

When the proposal landed on his desk Mr Pickles erupted because civil
servants advised that, as drafted, it would mean more than 1,000 bodies
being forced to comply, including Cambridge University, Jamie Oliver’s
15 restaurant in Cornwall and The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, known
as the ‘home of snooker’.

But last night, the Commission said the only stipulation was that Mr
Pickles should fly the EU flag outside his local government headquarters
in Westminster.

His HQ, Eland House, has two flagpoles – allowing officials to display the Union Flag in the ‘dominant’ position.

A Commission spokesman said: ‘The proposal on flags is limited to national managing authorities.

Most of them already fly EU and national flags and sometimes regional
ones too. Every funding body everywhere – including no doubt Mr
Pickles’s department – requires visible recognition of its funding role
on project sites, and the Commission is no different.

‘Nobody is yet expected to comply. This is a proposal on the table for discussion.’

However, Mr Pickles hit back: ‘Any organisation which forces others to
fly its flag betrays a lack of confidence and a deep sense of political
insecurity. Will forcing people to fly the flag help balance the EU
budget? I don’t think so.

‘Flying a flag should be a pleasure not a chore.There needs to be a more
grown-up approach and a sense of proportion on this whole issue.’

The Minister was joined by Chris Heaton-Harris, Tory MP for Daventry,
Northamptonshire, who last night said: ‘In a free country people should
be able to choose if they want to fly a flag.

‘This symbolises much of what is wrong in the EU – using propaganda
tactics to prove they have influence over people. It is completely
unacceptable and this idea should be dumped.’

The new rules also demand that organisations should give ‘the widest
possible media coverage’ to any activities funded by Brussels money and,
on the internet, describe what is being done with the money in an EU
language other than English.

The rules amount to an extension of current demands put in place by the
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which require organisations
that have received grants to put EU branding on their publicity
material: they are even required to take a photograph of material and
email it to the European Commission to prove that the regulations were
being observed. If they fail to do so, they face being fined.

Because the regulations are drawn up by the European Commission, and not
voted on by the UK Parliament, they do not form part of UK law, so the
Commission imposes ‘financial corrections’ for ‘non-compliance’. During
the past five years the Commission has punished dozens of British
organisations for failing to display the EU’s branding.

These have included the National Museum of Labour History in Manchester,
which was fined £7,223 for failing to put a Brussels logo on a
billboard and Doncaster Council, which was hit for £5,250 for ‘failure
to advertise ERDF support during a radio advert’.

The Commission spokesman said: ‘The rationale is that all projects
should have information in a language not of their country so that
non-national businesses and others can find out what is going on and
possibly identify funding/procurement opportunities for themselves.

‘The biggest winners out of this will probably be the UK and Ireland as most projects Europe-wide will put up info in English.

‘I confirm that these rules, like all EU rules, will not be handed down
by so-called Brussels bureaucrats but negotiated by national Ministers,
including Mr Pickles, and by elected MEPs in the European Parliament.
The UK always plays a full role in key EU negotiations.’

Added: Apr-29-2012 
By: gemini
Regional News
Tags: EU
Location: United Kingdom (UK/GB) (load item map)
Views: 1541 | Comments: 10 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
You need to be registered in order to add comments! Register HERE