Friday, 28 May 2010

EU directive behind England flag ban?

After those ‘silly rumours’ of state agencies banning the flag during the coming World Cup, stories are emerging of state agencies banning the flag during the coming World Cup. Granted, the difference is private and public enterprises, but still.

My Spidey senses tell me there is more to this than meets the eye, we (hopefully) all know of the EU’s hatred for anything that reinforces/ celebrates national sovereignty/ private property. In case you didn’t know, here is an article from 2008 by the Telegraph.

On St George's Day, EU wipes England off map.

The new European plan splits England into three zones that are joined with areas in other countries.

The "Manche" region covers part of southern England and northern France while the Atlantic region includes western parts of England, Portugal, Spain and Wales.

The North Sea region includes eastern England, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and parts of Germany.

A copy of the map, which makes no reference to England or Britain, has even renamed the English Channel the "Channel Sea".

Each zone will have a "transnational regional assembly", although they will not have extensive powers. However, the zones are regarded as symbolically important by other countries.

German ministers claimed that the plan was about "underlying the goal of a united Europe" to "permanently overcome old borders" at a time when the "Constitution for Europe needs to regain momentum".

No Fourth Reich there then?

A bit of digging finds a previous enforced ban on national flags on car number plates.

MOTORISTS who display the Union Flag on their vehicle number plates from this autumn can be stopped by the police and prosecuted under regulations approved yesterday by MPs.

However, it will be legal to carry the European Union symbol of 12 yellow stars on a blue background. A coalition of Tory, Liberal Democrat and nationalist MPs failed to block the proposed law, which is intended to implement an EU directive to harmonise number plate design in the interests of "clarity and safety".

The Road Vehicle 'Display of Registration Marks' Regulations 2001 mean that it will only be legal to carry on the registration plate the letters GB alongside the Euro symbol. It will not be lawful to have a depiction of the Union Flag, the Scottish saltire, the cross of St George or the Welsh dragon.

That particular regulation (Statutory Instrument) can be found here. After a glance, it looks like the rule for this can be found in Part 4 Misc., (2) (a).

International distinguishing signs and other material
16. 

    (1) No material other than a registration mark may be displayed on a registration plate except material complying with the requirements of any of the relevant standards mentioned in Schedule 2.
    (2) Where a mark is displayed on a dual purpose plate - 

Under the Explanatory Note (why am I reading this, it’s a nice day) it alludes to the EU Directive.

(g) The making of provision for the display of the international distinguishing sign of the United Kingdom adjacent to the registration mark in accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No. 2411/98 (a copy of which can be obtained from the Stationery Office). (See regulation 16.)

So here it is.

Council Regulation (EC) No 2411/98 of 3 November 1998 on the recognition in intra-Community traffic of the distinguishing sign of the Member State in which motor vehicles and their trailers are registered

This does two things.

First, it commands member states to refuse to recognise national flags;

(3) Whereas the Community is not a contracting party to the convention and whereas some of its Member States which are parties to it have recourse to the provisions of Article 37 of the Convention; whereas those Member States thus require vehicles from other Member States to display the distinguishing sign provided for by Annex 3 to the Convention; whereas some of those Member States do not recognise other distinguishing signs such as those displayed on registration plates which, while indicating the Member State in which the vehicle is registered, do not conform to Annex 3 to the Convention;

Annex 3 describes the EU flag by the way.

Second thing it does, is command member states to use the Annex 3 specs for registration.

(4) Whereas several Member States have introduced a model registration plate which, on the extreme left, displays a blue zone containing the 12 yellow stars representing the European flag plus the distinguishing sign of the Member State of registration; whereas for the purpose of intra-Community transport this distinguishing sign meets the objective of identifying the State of registration as provided for in Article 37 of the Convention;

What does this have to do with the current bans on the England flag? I don’t know yet, I’m still researching. In Canterbury, the cabbies believe the ban is to protect the ‘feelings of minorities’. This wouldn’t surprise me either to be honest, either way, I think it’s pathetic. If I find more info on this I’ll update this post (I still have a few avenues to research) but until then, I’m going to blow my brains out after boring myself to death.

Have a nice weekend.

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