France Removes EU Flag From Arc de Triomphe After Backlash

© REUTERS / CHRISTIAN HARTMANNThe European flag flies under the Arc de Triomphe to celebrate the start of the French presidency of the European Union, in Paris, France
The European flag flies under the Arc de Triomphe to celebrate the start of the French presidency of the European Union, in Paris, France - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.01.2022
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On 1 January, France took over the rotating six-month presidency of the European Union for the first time since 2008, and French authorities replaced the French flag at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris with the flag of the bloc.
On Sunday, French authorities removed a temporary installation of the European Union flag from the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris after backlash from right-wing politicians.
A number of French politicians sharply criticised the replacement of the tricolour flag with the EU flag under the Arc de Triomphe.
National Rally party leader and presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen said that the decision to temporary replace the French flag at the Arc de Triomphe with the flag of the European Union was "outrageous and provocative."
French presidential contender, Eric Zemmour, slammed the flag change as an insult. Valerie Pecresse, the head of the French region of Ile-de-France and candidate from The Republicans party, also demanded the return of the flag.
"Preside over Europe yes, erase French identity no!" Valerie Pecresse tweeted.
Clement Beaune, secretary of state for European affairs, has moved to defend the decision, saying in an interview with the French broadcaster BFMTV on Saturday that the change of the flag was temporal, adding that the tricolour would be put back in a few days.

On 1 January, Macron was inaugurated as the president of the Council of the European Union. In his speech in December, Macron outlined his objectives, pledging that France would work toward building a strong and sovereign European Union.
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