Standard discord at the EC

EURO-SCEPTICS are (almost literally) up in arms over the news that EC member countries’ flags are to be harmonised. – The move, announced by European cultural commissioner Jan Joques, is in the interests of “improving co-operation” and ending the “nationa

EURO-SCEPTICS are (almost literally) up in arms over the news that EC member countries’ flags are to be harmonised.

The move, announced by European cultural commissioner Jan Joques, is in the interests of “improving co-operation” and ending the “nationalistic and jingoistic” baggage associated with existing national flags, according to Joques.

The changeover is expected to take place by the year 2000. The new design is by UK consultancy Spencer-Crook, which won a 12-way proposals pitch. The design replaces existing flags with a single star against a plain background. Each country will have its own background colour.

The controversial allocation of colours will be known this weekend, when Joques will draw, lottery-style, coloured balls from a bingo-style machine.

The ceremony, timed to coincide with a partial solar eclipse on Saturday 1 April, is likely to draw a wail of protest from Euro-sceptic MPs. John Major is pledged to stand by the result, although his election hopes may rest on getting blue.

Flag-makers are certain to welcome the resulting boom in workload. Makers of Union Jack boxer shorts are thought to be less than pleased. One manufacturer simply says: “Bummer.”

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