French radical left attacks the European flag

The French and European flag hang from most public buildings in France. [Shutterstock]

Attacking the European flag is no longer the prerogative of the far-right, as Jean Luc Mélenchon’s far left party “France Insoumise” are just having a go at it. EURACTIV France reports.

The latest assault on the European flag came from deputies of the radical left party “France Insoumise” on Wednesday (4 October).

Various French parliamentarians, captained by former MEP Jean Luc Mélenchon, tabled an amendment seeking to replace the European flag hanging in the chamber of deputies with a UN flag.

The amendment sought to restrict the flags allowed in the parliament to “only the French and UN flags.”

Presented by Ugo Bernalicis on Wednesday, the amendment was motivated by France Insoumise’s opposition to the European Union “as it is today.” The amendment was rejected by a majority vote.

Controversy

But the controversy did not stop there. Francois de Rugy, speaker of the French parliament elected with Macron’s party, was astonished by the proposal. “Where did they get this from?” he asked.

Benjamin Griveaux, secretary of state at the Ministry of finance and economics, mocked Jean Luc Mélenchon on Twitter, reminding him that he had been a well-paid MEP for 8 years.

The attack by France Insoumise on the European flag is not the first. Upon entering the French parliament for the first time in June, the former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon expressed annoyance with the EU flag hanging next to the French flag.

Attacking the EU’s symbols used to be a prerogative of the far-right. The EU flag had been lambasted by Front National politicians and had been taken down from numerous city halls where the anti-European party had won the mayoral elections.

During the presidential campaign, Marine Le Pen announced in a televised debate that she would remove EU flags from public buildings, a policy item that she included in her party’s program in the run-up to the election.

Unsurprisingly, the proposal by France Insoumise was applauded by the far-right. Le Pen’s former second-in-command, MEP Florian Philippot, took the battle to Twitter: “Of course, we need to remove from our national parliament the cloth of the European oligarchy”.

Philippot had recently quit the FN and joined the far-right group Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy,  chaired by Nigel Farage of UKIP.