WorldWhy France was forced to remove the European Union...

Why France was forced to remove the European Union flag from the Arc de Triomphe within hours of being raised

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The authorities of France a European Union flag temporarily installed on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris was removed “as planned” on Sunday after right-wing opposition parties accused the government of Emmanuel Macron of “erasing” the French identity.

The blue flag was raised in place of the French one on New Years Eve to mark the turn of France in the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, which he will serve for the next six months.

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The Arch, which honors those who died in World War I, and other iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Pantheon will also be illuminated with blue lights during the week.

The withdrawal of the French flag aroused the ire of the right and the extreme right, who considered it an unpatriotic act.

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“Preside over Europe yes, erase the French identity no!”, tweeted Valerie Pécresse, the conservative candidate who, according to polls, could be the main opponent of President Macron in the elections scheduled in spring.

People gather at the blue-lit Arc de Triomphe to commemorate the French presidency of the European Union, on January 1, 2022. (JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP).

Pécresse urged him to restore the French flag: “We owe it to our soldiers who shed their blood for her “.

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The far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who threatened to appeal to the Council of State, France’s highest administrative court in administrative matters, called the withdrawal of the EU flag a “great patriotic victory”, stating on Twitter that a “massive mobilization” had forced Macron to back down.

The other far-right candidate, the polemicist Éric Zemmour, also joined the controversy.

However, the presidential palace of the Elysee specified that the European flag was “withdrawn during the night (from Saturday to Sunday) according to the planned schedule.”

According to the Elysee, it was to remain “on December 31 and January 1 to symbolically mark the beginning of the French presidency of the EU, in the same way as the blue illumination of various monuments” in France.

For his part, the French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, on Saturday accused the opposition of lying and the right of “desperately following the sterile polemics of the extreme right.”

The government “has no lesson in patriotism to receive from Le Pen, Zemmour or Pécresse, who are becoming a photocopy of the extreme right,” he added.

A presidential official, who asked not to be named, could not say when the French flag will fly under the Arch again, but noted that it was not a permanent feature of the monument.

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