PARIS (Reuters) – A big European Union flag connected to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Friday to mark the beginning of France’s six-month presidency of the bloc was removed on Sunday after it drew outrage from far-right and right-wing leaders.
Junior European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune, who on Friday had mentioned the flag would stay for “a number of days”, mentioned it had been taken down as deliberate.
“It was scheduled that the flag was to be taken down this Sunday, we hadn’t established an actual time”, Beaune advised France Inter radio.
He dismissed the concept the federal government had given in after far-right chief Marine Le Pen on Saturday mentioned she would enchantment to France’s Council of State to take away the EU flag.
“The authorities has been pressured to take away the EU flag from the Arc de Triomphe, a phenomenal patriotic victory at first of 2022”, Le Pen mentioned on Sunday.
“We did not again down, there was no change of plan …I absolutely assume France’s future is in Europe,” Beaune mentioned.
He mentioned Le Pen and different leaders had received all of it mistaken after they mentioned the EU flag had supplanted the French flag because the latter is just not completely displayed on the Arc de Triomphe.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who has but to say if he’ll run for re-election in April, defeated Le Pen in a 2017 run-off by 66%-34%.
Most polls present there might be a rematch between the 2 within the upcoming presidential election, with Macron anticipated to win once more, albeit with a slimmer margin.
(Reporting by Marc Angrand and Benoit Van Overstraeten; modifying by Jason Neely)