May 21st, 2024

Eurovision banned the EU flag from the song contest. The EU is demanding to know why

By The Associated Press on May 13, 2024.

BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union’s executive said Monday it will demand explanations from Eurovision song contest organizers why its flag was banned from the concert hall during the final.

In a contest already full of controversy, the European Commission said it plans “a very lively discussion” with the organizers over the ban. Even though the 27-nation EU did not compete as such, many of its member states did, and the star-spangled blue flag is often seen as a unifier for all involved.

EU Commission spokesperson Eric Mamer said it had “no information from the organizers at this point in time about the motivation for refusing the European flag during the event,” but the ban clearly angered EU Vice President Margaritis Schinas enough to hold talks with the Swiss-based European Broadcast Union, which organizes the contest.

“We certainly encourage the EBU to understand this is a mistake,” Mamer said.

During the weeklong contest, organizers were already roiled by the protests linked to the war in Gaza and the controversial disqualification of the Dutch participant over an incident which was never fully explained.

Ahead of the final, a spokesperson for the European Broadcasting Union that runs the show said ticket holders are only allowed to bring and display flags representing participating countries, as well as the rainbow-colored flag which is a symbol for LGBTQ+ communities.

Swiss singer Nemo won the 68th Eurovision Song Contest early Sunday with “The Code,” an operatic pop-rap ode to the singer’s journey toward embracing a nongender identity.

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