I am assuming that the image above is meant to symbolise the result of the EU referendum in the UK. The UK leaving the EU is shown as one of the 12 stars disappearing from the EU flag, in the form of a tear.
Many people assume that the 12 stars in the EU flag represent the time when there were 12 countries in the EU. This is not so. The EU flag has
- a blue background symbolising the sky
- twelve stars symbolising perfection and unity
- a circle symbolising union
It was chosen in 1955 and has been used since 1986. Although the EU did have 12 member states in 1986, the number of stars has never had anything to do with the number of states in the EU.
Part of my job is to prepare people for EU work – as part of an EU Presidency, or prior to being posted to Brussels, for example. I find that very few people know about the Schuman plan, or details about the different countries in the EU. Or how the EU works, for that matter.
Another big faux pas which appeared in the newspapers was this one, from the New York Post. Can you spot the error?