It features a circle of 12 gold stars on a blue background. They stand for the ideals of unity, solidarity and harmony among the peoples of Europe.
The number of stars has nothing to do with the number of member countries, though the circle is a symbol of unity.
History of the European flag
The history of the flag goes back to 1955. The Council of Europe - which defends human rights and promotes European culture – chose the present design for its own use. In the years that followed, it encouraged the emerging European institutions to adopt the same flag.
In 1983, the European Parliament decided that the Communities’ flag should be that used by the Council of Europe. In 1985, it was adopted by all EU leaders as the official emblem of the European Communities, later to become the European Union. In addition, all European institutions now have their own emblems.
Commemorative euro coin: 30 years of the EU flag
To mark the flag's 30th anniversary, euro area countries are issuing a special commemorative coin. The design is to be chosen by citizens and residents of the euro area. You have until 27 May 2015 to vote for your favourite design with the chance of winning a great prize!