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Romania, flag law

Last modified: 2013-11-20 by alex danes
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Information on the flag law

Romania's flag is enshrined in article 12 of the constitution: "The flag of Romania is tricolor; the colors are arranged vertically in the following order from the flag pole: blue, yellow, and red." A constitutional revision would be needed to change the flag, and the constitution requires that such revisions must pass both chambers of parliament and be put to the people for final approval in a referendum. More details can be found at http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/ro__indx.html
Jan Oskar Engene, 14 November 2002

The Romanian Law no. 75, of July 16th, 1994 can be found at http://www.cdep.ro/pls/legis/legis_pck.htp_act_text?idt=14530. A translation of the relevant sections of the law text follows:

Law no. 75, of July 16th, 1994, regarding the display of the Romanian flag, singing the national anthem and the use of insignia containing the Romanian coat of arms by public authority and institutions.

The text of this act has been published in Monitorul Oficial no. 237 of August 26th, 1994.

[...]

CHAPTER 1
Displaying the Romanian flag

ARTICLE 1 - The model of the Romanian flag and the shade of its colors are the ones specified in annex no. 1*). The Romanian flag is of rectangular form. The width of the flag is 2/3 of its length, and the size of the color bands is the same.

ARTICLE 2 - The Romanian flag is to be on permanent display in the following places:
a) at public authority and institution buildings and headquarters;
b) at the headquarters of political parties, syndicates, educational and cultural institutions;
c) at frontier crossing points as well as international airports;
d) as official flag for any kind of ship which sails under the Romanian flag.
ARTICLE 3 - The Romanian flag is to be temporarily displayed on the following occasions:
a) on the Romanian National Day and other national holidays, in public places chosen by the local authorities;
b) during localized, national or international official festivities and occasions, where they take place;
c) during official visits in Romania by foreign chiefs of state or government officials, as well as important political persons representing the main international intergovernmental organizations, at airports, train stations, harbors and on the various roads they take;
d) during military ceremonies, according to military rules;
e) during sports competitions, on stadiums and other sports facilities;
f) during election campaigns, at the local offices of the electing committees and at the voting facilities.
ARTICLE 4 - The Romanian flag may be displayed by people at their home or place of residence, as well as by juridical personas, other than those described in ARTICLE 3, at their headquarters.

ARTICLE 5 - The Romanian flag is to be displayed at the abroad headquarters of diplomatic missions and consulates of the Romanian state, as well as at the place of residence of the chiefs of diplomatic and consular parties, as specified by protocols. The Romanian flag is also to be displayed as a banner on the transportation means of the diplomatic and consular party chiefs, during their official movement about.

ARTICLE 6 - The Romanian flag is to be displayed at half-mast during national mourning days, as designated by the Government.

ARTICLE 7 - The flags of other states may be displayed on Romanian territory only accompanied by the national flag and only during the visits of foreign officials, international festivities or reunions, on official buildings and in public places chosen in respect to the text of this law. Display of the Romanian flag at manifestations which take place under the auspices of international organizations is done according to international regulations. The flag of the European Council can be displayed in places where the Romanian flag is displayed.

ARTICLE 8 - Wherever the flag of Romania is accompanied by one or more foreign state flags, they are to be arranged as follows:
a) when the Romanian flag is displayed together with one foreign flag, the Romanian flag will be placed on the left side, looking from the front of the flags.
b) when the Romanian flag is displayed together with several foreign flags and the total number of flags is odd, the Romanian flag is to be displayed in the middle. If the total number of flags is even, the Romanian flag is to be placed at the left of the flag with whom it shares the center, looking from the front of the flags. All state flags on display will have identical size and will be placed at the same level.
[...]

CHAPTER 4
Final provisions

[...]

ARTICLE 20 - Citizens ought to show respect to the flag and national anthem of Romania and to not commit any acts which could bring offence to them.

ARTICLE 21 - At any occasions where the flag is displayed, as well as during the singing of the national anthem on solemn occasions, people will stand, men will bare their heads, and soldiers of all ranks will salute according to military regulations.

ARTICLE 22 - In order to enforce the present law the Government will adopt certain norms regarding the display of the Romanian flag and the singing of the national anthem, depending on the nature of the particular actions and manifestations, as well as specific duties of the public authority and institutions. The choosing of these norms will take into consideration reciprocity with other states and the international habits in these matters.

[...]

ARTICLE 24 - Annexes no. 1-3 are integral part of the present law.

[...]
*) Note: Annex no. 1 has only been published in the printed copy of the law, in the Monitorul Oficial, and is available online (PDF). It names the colors of the flag as being cobalt blue, chrome yellow and vermilion red.

This law is THE final authority on things related to the Romanian flag. Among other things, it explicitly names the COLORS of the flag, albeit using pigment names, not any standard colorspace: cobalt blue, chrome yellow, vermilion red.

Annex 1 only appears as hard copy, printed in the Monitorul Oficial (the official law publication of the state), and I don't have my own copy of that particular issue. No online version is available, they are distributed only by paid subscription. Anyway, using pigments, on one hand, is good, since Pantone Matching System codes, for instance, can be changed any time at the discretion of Pantone. Perhaps the law makers lacked the technical knowledge to also specify them using CMYK. On the other hand, it's bad, because I've had a terrible time trying to find any relation between these pigments and ANY accepted color system, not to mention digital colorspaces. Sure, there are many pages which claim that "cobalt" or "vermilion" are such and such RGB or Pantone code, but they're just empty claims. So, short of a trip to a professional printshop there's no way to know what those exact colors actually are. So it's back to Album des Pavillons for now.

Law no. 75 explicitly recommends that the flags of other countries may be displayed in Romania only accompanied by a Romanian flag. The way I understand it (and I have no legal background), this kind of law by itself is more of a guideline than a rule. By this I mean that breaking it by making the flag the "wrong" size ratio, for instance, won't get you a punishment. You need to do it in a context that falls explicitly under the incidence of the Penal Code (see above) to be punished.
Ciprian Popovici, 25 January 2005

The national flag of Romania is defined by an act of the Parliament of Romania (Law No. 75 of July 16, 1994, available for download here (PDF)) as a blue, gold, and red tricolour of vertical bands of equal size, with blue at the hoist. The colours are defined as cobalt blue, chrome yellow, and vermillion red (Annex 1 of Law No. 75).
Alex Neumann, 18 March 2006

Revised flag law of September 1996

The parliament of Romania last week (17 September 1996) lifted the prohibition of flying foreign flags. It looks as if this is a sign of good-will to the Hungarian minority living in Transylvania. Last year the Romanian parliament prohibited the display of flags of foreign countries. This measure was generally seen as been directed against the Hungarian minority which often uses the Hungarian tricolour. Romania and Hungary signed on 16 September last in Timisoara an agreement to resolve all bilateral problems - including the minority problem.

Source: NRC Handelsblad (Rotterdam), 19 September 1996.

Jos Poels, 23 September 1996

Regarding the flag law and the banning. The current version of article 236 of the Romanian Penal Code is here. As you can see, the troublesome 2nd paragraph which the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania complained about is now gone.

Translation of the current version:

Offense to insignia
Art. 236. - Any manifestation which expresses contempt for the insignia of Romania is punishable by jail time ranging from 6 months to 3 years. Manifestations which express contempt for insignia used by authorities are punishable by jail time ranging from 3 months to 1 year, or by a fine. "Defamation of the country or of the nation
Art. 236-1. - Public manifestation committed with the intent of defamation towards the Romanian country or nation are punishable by jail time ranging from 6 months to 3 years.
Here is the transcript of the actual Chamber of Deputies meeting, from September 17, 1996, which is where the modification was decided upon. It supports the quote from NRC Handelsblad.

Ciprian Popovici, 25 January 2005


Blue flag on schools

Alexander Justice asked: can anyone explain the blue flags?

Protesters hoisted blue flags on school roofs, while families and Roman Catholic priests planned to begin forming human chains around schools.
The law that stipulates obligatory education in Romanian for all citizens has caused neighbouring Hungary to break off negotiations on a friendship treaty with Romania.

I suppose the background story of blue flag is simple. In Hungary, when teachers of schools had strike against something new decision of the (Hungarian) government, maybe they fought for their salaries, all of teacher and people who agreed with them, used blue ribbon. Because of the simple fact, that teachers used blue ribbon, and blue flag, this thing became a symbol representing them. Therefore, if any teacher want to express his/her opinion - he/she uses that.

It is interesting that a blue flag appeared in Romania. It seems that Hungarians of Transylvania continue this custom.

On the other hand the use of the Hungarian flag is prohibited by law. So Hungarians have had to find another symbol if they do not want to walk into the prison. Actually, they use a white ribbon instead of red-white-green flags.

In the above-mentioned case, Hungarian schools had to be decorated with blue flags. I wonder if they used blue or white ribbons as well. These blue flags symbolizes Hungarians' opinion on the newest anti-Hungarian law of Romania. (I am not sure that this law is a milestone on the road toward Europe...)

Hungarian teachers are against a governmental decision - they use blue flags.

By the way: this blue flag should be light blue, not dark blue, but I think the meaning for latter case is same.

Tamas Rumi 24 November 1995


Discussion in 2002 about addition of arms to the flag

On 13 November 2002, the Mediafax news agency in Bucharest reported that the Romanian flag has been changed. Apparently a committee charged with revising the constitution has restored a coat of arms to the national flag. This is the same coat of arms adopted in 1992.
Mark Denten, 13 November 2002

It appears that this report was premature. The following texts were found:

"Drapelul national va avea din nou o stemă Ón centru BUCURESTI, 12 nov (MEDIAFAX) - Stema României va fi introdusă Ón centrul drapelului national, pe culoarea galben, pentru prima oară după 1989, conform unei decizii adoptate, marti, de Comisia pentru revizuirea Constitutiei. Legea fundamentală va specifica includerea stemei pe drapel, Ón conditiile Ón care actuala Constitutie nu are un asemenea detaliu."

and (from this website)

"Revine stema pe drapel? Comisia de revizuirea Constitutiei a luat in dezbatere problema introducerii stemei pe drapelul Romaniei, membrii comisiei solicitand, in acest sens, un aviz din partea Academiei Romane, a declarat, ieri, secretarul Camerei Deputatilor, Tudor Mohora. Mohora a aratat ca presedintele Camerei Deputatilor a facut aceasta precizare in sedinta Biroului Permanent, ca urmare a propunerii deputatului apartinand minoritatilor nationale Metin Cerchez de a se aplica stema pe drapelul Romaniei. Metin Cerchez a aratat ca propunerea sa trebuie inclusa de urgenta pe ordinea de zi a Camerei Deputatilor, deoarece, in prezent, drapelul Romaniei seamana cu cel al Repubilcii Ciad, iar in preajma aderarii tarii noastre la NATO este "imperios necesara asezarea stemei pe drapel". Tudor Mohora a spus ca aceasta problema nu poate fi reglementata printr-o lege, ci prin modificarea Constitutiei. Biroul Permanent a decis, insa, sa solicite comisiei juridice sa se pronunte in legatura cu acest subiect, a adaugat Mohora. (M.F.)"

which we understand to indicate that discussion took place about legislative proposals to look at with the possibility to modify and supplement Law nr. 75/1994 on the hoisting of the flag of Romania, intonation of the national anthem and usage of seals with the Romanian arms by authorities and public institutions. The reasons for this proposal was to distinguish the Romanian flag from that of Chad. The proposal seems to have been dropped.

Ivan Sache, Pascal Vagnat, 15 November 2002