The European Commission criticized the Eurovision organizers for banning the EU flag at the contest

Oleksandra Opanasenko

The European Commission criticized the organizers of this yearʼs Eurovision Song Contest for banning the EU flag in the concert hall during the contestʼs grand finale.

The Associated Press writes about this, referring to the "extremely sharp letter" of the vice president of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas.

In a letter to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Schinas said that banning the EU flag contributes to "discrediting the symbol that unites all Europeans". According to the vice president, such actions of the organizers of the competition "cast a shadow on what should be a joyful event for the people of Europe and the world." The EU flag is often present next to national flags as a symbol of European unity.

The day before, the European Commission announced that they were planning a "lively discussion" with the Eurovision organizers regarding their policy of banning certain symbols at the contest.

The Guardian writes that the EBU explained in response to the accusations that according to the rules, the flags of the participating countries and the flag of the LGBT community are allowed during the Eurovision Song Contest. There is no separate ban on the flag of the European Union, but due to the informational background against which the contest was held, the security guard was more careful about any manifestations of politics. The organizers promise to revise these norms before the next Eurovision Song Contest, which will take place a year later in Switzerland.

Rapper Alyona Alyona, who together with singer Jerry Heil represented Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest, said that at this yearʼs competition, "apolitical pressure was very great." Therefore, the Ukrainian team decided not to take risks and not to wear T-shirts with the slogan Free Azovstal Defenders.

What preceded

The Eurovision Song Contest 2024 was held in Malmö, Sweden. There were supposed to be 26 participants, but the representative from the Netherlands, Joost Klein, was disqualified due to allegations of violent behavior towards a female television crew member after his performance in the semi-finals. His case is handled by the police, and the Dutch broadcaster said that Klein did not touch the operator.

The competition itself was held with protests by pro-Palestinian activists, who demanded the removal of the participant from Israel against the background of the IDF operation in the Gaza Strip, which began in response to the attack by the Palestinian movement Hamas on October 7, 2023. Police in Malmö had to increase security measures. More than a hundred activists were detained during the actions.

At the competition itself, there was no open hostility towards the representative of Israel, Eden Golan, but some of the participants openly spoke in support of Palestine. Among them was the representative of Ireland Vambie Thug.

Switzerland won the Eurovision Song Contest 2024. Ukraine took third place.