The European flag symbolises both the European Union and, more broadly, the identity and unity of Europe.
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.
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.
To mark the 30th anniversary of the decision by EU leaders to adopt the flag as an EU emblem, the 19 euro area countries are issuing a special commemorative coin. Following an online competition held in 2015 by the European Commission, citizens and residents of the euro area selected the design created by Georgios Stamatopoulos, an engraver at the Bank of Greece. It comprises 12 stars that morph into human figures embracing the birth of a new Europe. Take a look at the winning design.