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Western European Union

Union de l'Europe Occidentale

Last modified: 2013-06-11 by ivan sache
Keywords: western european union | union de l'europe occidentale | stars: 4 (yellow) | stars: 9 (yellow) | stars: 10 (yellow) | stars: 12 (yellow) | stars: 8 (yellow) | euromarfor | european maritime force | forza multinazionale |
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[WEU flag]

Flag of the Western European Union - Image by Željko Heimer, 6 December 2003

See also:

Presentation of the Western European Union

The members of the WEU are:

In 1948, the Treaty of Brussels established a military assistance pact between the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. In 1952, the USA proposed the idea of an European Defense Community integrated to NATO. The project was rejected by the French Parliament in 1954, and the Western European Union was created in 1954 by a new European pact signed in Brussels, allowing the rearming of Federal Republic of Germany and its integration in WEU (and NATO).

Ivan Sache, 15 April 2005

Flag of the Western European Union

Although we've rarely flown it, WEU does have a flag: two actually exist, in a standard European blue background with ten yellow stars in a laureate formation. The flag is 2 m x 1.3 m, and the stars are 11 cm tip to tip - they represent the ten member states. The central "E" is 15 cm tall by just under 11 cm wide, and the stars are spaced equally in a circle around it, such that #s 2 and 9 are level with the horizontal "WEU", the outer tips 50 cm from the centre of the "E".

F.B., WEU accountant, 27 August 2010

The WEU/UEO flag was once flown operationally aboard a US Navy ship. For a brief period in 1995, the destroyer USS John Rodgers functioned as the flagship for the Italian general commanding WEU relief operations in Bosnia. During this time, when no U.S. flag officer was aboard, John Rodgers displayed the WEU flag. Based on the practice used for US Navy ships assigned to NATO standing naval forces, I believe the WEU flag would have been flown from a yardarm.

Joe McMillan, 20 November 2000

1949 - ? flag

Quoting Carr [car61]:

The flag has a dark blue field bearing five links forming an unbroken chain, in gold [The links form a kind of pentagon, but with the "point" bottommost]. The field has a multi-colored border: red (outside), gold, black, and white [The relative proportions of the border are approximatively: Red 3, each of the others 1. The total width of the border is approximatively half that of the depth of the flag.] [...] These colors were taken from the national flags of the member countries, namely, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Holland [sic] and Luxembourg.>

I do not know when this flag was replaced by the one mentioned below, but as the WEU was effectively moribund until the end of the Cold War, it would not surprise me if the members simply forgot there had ever been one. However, I doubt the old flag would have been revived if even if they had, as blue and gold, for good or for ill have become firmly established as the European colors.

Roy Stilling, 6 May 1996

? - 1993 flag

[Former flag of WEU]

Former flag of the Western European Union - Image by Željko Heimer, 15 December 2003

According to Album des Pavillons, recapitulative correction (1995) [pie95], the former flag of the Western European Union has nine golden stars (for the nine members listed above, excluding Greece) and the stars are not all of the same size, but diminish from the center.

Željko Heimer, 15 December 2003

Assembly of the Western European Union

[Assembly of the WEU]

Flag of the Assembly of the Western European Union - Image by Željko Heimer, 6 December 2003

According to Album des Pavillons [pay00], the flag of the Assembly of the WEU is blue with a white dove rising from yellow lines of stylized assembly seats surrounded with 12 yellow fivepointed stars in perspective and below in an arch white inscription "UEO-WEU".

Željko Heimer, 6 December 2003

European Operational Rapid Force (Eurofor)

Eurofor (European Operational Rapid Force) was created in 1995 as a task force of the Western European Union, being operational June 1998. More information is available in several languages on the Eurofor website.

A military parade took place in Madrid last Friday on occasion of the Armed Forces' Day. Several European units (French, Italian and Portuguese) took part, marching under their national flags but headed by the Eurofor flag.
The flag was rectangular (probably 2:3), showing on a blue field (regular blue, not the dark blue on the European Union flag) the Eurofor emblem: a red fleur-de-lis on top of a crossed green olive branch and white sword with yellow hilt, surrounded on the top by four yellow stars and over the emblem "EUROFOR" in white lettering.

[Coat of arms of Eurofor]

Coat of arms of Eurofor - Image by Santiago Dotor, 17 October 2001

The coat of arms of Eurofor is explained as follows:

The blue color of the background is a reminiscent of the European flag. The four golden stars represent the four founding nations: France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The sword symbolises military force, the olive branch is a reminder of Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Missions. The waves are an allusion to the maritime environment common to the four Nations. In the center, the fleur-de-lis, symbol of Florence, the city that hosts the Headquarters of the Force.

Please note that the symbol of Florence is not simply a fleur-de-lis, rather a florentino or fleur-de-lis flowered.

I do not recall at all the three wavy lines appearing on the flag. And the flag showed only the charges on the coat-of-arms, that is not the silhouette of the shield.

Santiago Dotor, 17 October 2001

European Maritime Force (Euromarfor)


Flag of Euromarfor - Image by Željko Heimer, 8 December 1997

According to Album des Pavillons [pay00], Euromarfor, which depends of WEU, has a flag showing four yellow stars and yellow EUROMARFOR written on a blue field.

Armand du Payrat, 8 December 1997

Multinational Protection Force in Albania (April-August 1997)

[Multinational Protection Force in Albania, 1997]

Flag of the Multinational Protection Force in Albania - Image by Jan Oskar Engene, 18 January 1998

The flag of the Multinational Protection Force in Albania has a blue field with stars representing the participating countries in the Alba mission. The stars are yellow, which makes the flag resemble the flag of the Council of Europe and the European Union. The stars are arranged in an arch and under the arch are set the letters "FMP" in white. FMP is the acronym for the name of the operation in Italian: Forza Multinazionale di Protezione. Italy was the main country involved in the operation. The Flag Bulletin [tfb] ("Flag news and notes", No. 177, Sept-Oct 1997, p. 186-187) gives proportions as approximately 2:3.

The flag was officially hoisted, according to the Albanian Telegraphic Agency, on 16 April 1997. Reuters news agency reported on 8 August 1997 that the Multinational Protection Force flag was lowered that day in an official ceremony at the MPF base in Rinas. This was in preparation for the withdrawal of the force to be completed by 11 August 1997. Interestingly, Reuters says that ten - not eight - countries participated in the MFP.

Jan Oskar Engene, 18 January 1998