The use is already widespread but the proposal of its obligation has caused a stir. The National Assembly voted in the night from Wednesday to Thursday a text of the Macronist deputies to make mandatory the French and European flags on the pediment of town halls of more than 1,500 inhabitants. After a tense review, the bill was supported by 130 votes to 109 at first reading and must now be considered by the Senate.

Amendments have relaxed the initial text, allowing flags to be hoisted near town halls or on their roofs and especially by exempting municipalities with less than 1,500 inhabitants from the obligation to display flags, for financial reasons. "The exemption concerns 70% of the municipalities of France," denounced the deputy LR Philippe Gosselin, "it does not make sense" in a "Republic one and indivisible". "Either [the European flag] is important, it is a symbol and it is displayed everywhere" or not, criticized ecologist Jérémie Iordanoff, announcing an abstention on the entire text.

A divisive but "symbolic" proposal

MPs voted an amendment to guarantee in all town halls this time the presence of the official portrait of the President of the Republic, a widespread use. Then two others to affix the motto Liberty, Equality, Fraternity on their facades (Léaument amendment, LFI) or display the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen inside (Gosselin, LR).

The bill, supported by the Macronist Renaissance group, was voluntarily placed on the agenda on Tuesday, the anniversary of Robert Schuman's declaration of 9th May 1950, considered as a founding text of European integration, but the tense debates spilled over into Wednesday evening. One year before the European elections, the Renaissance rapporteur Mathieu Lefèvre assumes the divisive nature of his "symbolic significance" proposal.

'Frexit dreams in disguise'

"Those who find it difficult to hide their discomfort in front of the star-spangled flag have just as much trouble masking their dreams of Frexit disguised, red for some and brown for others," he attacked, targeting the rebellious and RN deputies. The Secretary of State for Europe, Laurence Boone, added by pointing to the "two extremes of this hemicycle".

Insoumise and communists mocked the "attempt of diversion" of the presidential camp to try to turn the page of the pension reform, by a measure "without any practical use". In the RN, MP Jean-Philippe Tanguy launched a frontal attack against the star-spangled flag, which he said bears "no symbol". "There are only three colors to which the French bow," he said, "blue, white and red."

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