The EBU has released the official guidelines for the use of flags in the Eurovision audience. But as well as the usual size restrictions, there is now a list of specifically prohibited flags – and that’s left some groups unhappy.

The usual size restrictions apply. Flags without a stick must be no bigger than 120 x 80 cm, and flags with a stick must be no bigger than 60 x 40 cm, with the stick no bigger than 50 cm and made of plastic. This is to ensure that flags don’t end up blocking camera shots or getting in the way of other audience members.

Romania flag miracle
The Romanian flag is welcome at Globen

And as usual, there are limits to the types of flags that can be used. The EBU has limited it to flags of the 42 participating countries, as well as recent participants (yes, Romania, you shall go to the ball!). Also allowed are the national flags of other countries, as long as that country is a member of the United Nations.

The rainbow flag (also known as the LGBT pride flag) and the European Union flag are also allowed (or “tolerated”, as the policy states), but only if they are not “used as [a] tool to intentionally make a political statement during the show”. So don’t go waving that EU flag during Joe and Jake’s song.

But banned are local, regional or provincial flags, ones with commercial messages, political or religious statements, flags of disputed territories, offensive statements, non-English statements, and other high objects (such as selfie sticks) that may obstruct views.

Basque controversy

The banning of flags of local, regional, provincial or disputed territories is causing a bit of controversy for some affected areas.

ebu banned flags 2

The policy lists a few examples of banned flags, including the Kosovo, Crimea, Palestine and Basque flags. And it’s the inclusion of the Basque flag (also known as Ikurriña) that’s caused offence, with of the main Basque political parties, EH Bildu, making a complaint to the Swedish embassy.

Much of the complaint stems from an earlier version of the policy which included the Islamic State flag alongside the examples of area flags, seemingly equating the Basque flag with that of a terrorist group.

The document has since been updated and now lists the Islamic State flag in a separate “strictly prohibited” area.

Flying the flag

The new flag policy will certainly affect a large number of fans. In recent years, we’ve seen Kosovan flags, Catalonian Esteladas and even the Spanish representatives in 2013, ESDM, had an Asturian flag with them. What are your thoughts on this?

Over the years, flags have become a sensitive topic at Eurovision, and not only because of the many camera angles they ruin. Do you think the banned flags necessarily contain a political statement? Are you in favour of the restrictions? Share your feelings below!

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Serbia
Guest
Serbia

It is good thing that they banned non country flags to avoid controversy

Photo Booth Lancashire
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100% quality content.

Amy
Guest

Great content. very informative.

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[…] Eurovision 2016: Flag policy released, includes banned list […]

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[…] en ‘Roemenië-gate’ Zo bracht de EBU dit jaar voor het eerst een zogenaamde ‘flag policy’ naar buiten. Op zich is het idee erg nobel. En het liet zien dat de EBU de ‘politisering’ van […]

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[…] Organisers have stated that the rainbow flag and the flag of the European Union will be ‘tolerated’, so long as they are not ‘used as a tool to intentionally make a political statement during the show’. […]

politically incorrect
Guest
politically incorrect

sooo you are telling me that albanians are not allowed to use the Kosovo flag but since is not mentioned I guess the Nazi flag is allowed ? THIS IS PATHETIC!
OK my dear Albanians if we can’t use the Kosovo flag that means that we are going to use the AUTOCHTHONOUS FLAG ! eurovision ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THIS ?

jan
Guest
jan

Just heard about this, as a Welsh person I am disgusted, especially as we have been big supporters and contributors to the Eurovision. Wales just happens to be the oldest country in Europe, the sooner we become independent from the UK the better.

OR
Guest
OR

@Sal
You are right 100%

Ssagaji
Guest
Ssagaji

@Brazil91 No, it’s not painful at all. Kosovo doesn’t participate, so there is no reason that a Kosovan flag should be present. Your comment just annoyed me, because you have no idea what you’re talking about. Yes, India and Brasil are big, but still irrelevant. Besides I think Canada and the States are both bigger than Brasil and India, just saying. Oh please, Serbia isn’t anything better than Kosovo, despite being a country for a much, much longer periode and abusing the Yugoslav system to build their country. 😉 Btw. the only tragic thing I see here is your English.… Read more »

Brazil91
Guest
Brazil91

@Ssagaji First of all,my friend,u r stupid as an owl…i am not from Brazil if u wanna know,that’s just the title of the popular yugoslav eurovision entry from 1991….I am sorry but you have to deal with,you probably will never have any entry at this show..your state is a ridiculous tragic story of Balcans decay though I have not anything personally against you or your people…this decision of EBU/SVT is a painful slap for you and I am sorry for that…Second – Brasil,India,China,Russia are the biggest countries or nations in the world no matter of their infulence in international politics,but… Read more »

Ssagaji
Guest
Ssagaji

@Brazil91 First of all, your country doesn’t participate in Eurovision. Your country isn’t even European. What the heck do you even want?! Your opinion has the least relevancy! Secondly, except of Russia none of the countries you mentioned are European or have broadcasters who are active EBU members. And speaking of “biggest nations” (and LMAO, since when are India and Brasil big nations?! they have almost zero world influence – they have population and size – that’s all) the USA, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Australia and also worth a mention Sweden, as it’s the host country, did recognize Kosovo as… Read more »

Anton
Guest
Anton

@gal
Give them independence state and return their lands and you’ll be free of them!

Peter
Guest
Peter

If you ask me, everyone here should stop bashing and/or idolising the decision and either accept the decision and appreciate SVT’s efforts or take a step back and realise that the flags aren’t going to change the competition at all.

Imo SVT have gone too far with new rules and changes though

gal
Guest
gal

Free Israel from terrorist palestain

Anton
Guest
Anton

Crimea is not a country and never was. Crimea is the region on the RF, and regional flags are banned, that makes sence.

Dean
Guest
Dean
Marti
Guest
Marti

…And by the way Eurovision is for gay…

eerikin
Guest
eerikin

What about the Sami flag, though? As far as I remember Agnete used Sami flags in her intro video, since she IS a Sami, but then they will not allow it during the show. Not very well thought out.

Italiano
Guest
Italiano

The people of Crimea chose Russia, not neo-Nazi government in Ukraine. There was no occupation of the Crimea by Russia – ask now of the inhabitants of Crimea, whether they want back to Ukraine? 98% will say no

euroeurofan
Guest

Free Kosovo,it is an amazing country,with friendly people,and cleanest blood in Europe.They are just amazing,I love them just like everyone like them.They are perfect,they diserve freedom and justice.
Eurovision sucks,sucks and always will sucks.
Greetings to Kosovo from Finland.

Eurofan94
Guest

Kosovo?For real?Serious guys?Eurovision,not just u sucks u even don’t know what is the art.
Crimea?I am suprised on eurovison,for real.
Now I understand why Turkey left this stupid show.Because it is just a f… show.
But this done,nobody cares about Eurovision because it is not an important show.
I have just one word like all the others “SHAME”.

K????? ????????
Guest
K????? ????????

wtf guys kosovo needs to be part of serbia , and montenegro too just leave the bosnian people alone,the balkans alone albanians as nation i dont have problem what i have problem is with “squiptar” nation becouse the make fking 6-7 kids and they want to take over.So please kill them shoot them at sight…

serbiafan
Guest

Like a Serbian,Kosovo should be participation in that show.
Today they have many talents.
I can’t love them but u maked a big mistake putting their flag there.

lunnaaa
Guest

Shame on eurovison.Shame,shame..Shame on people.
I thought Eurovison is talking about art,and talents..
And you are being even worse than politic.
You are lookinng about religions and people.Shame,you show don’t diserve to watch.Thsi year u lost many fans and another year u will not have any.FAIL
Free Kosovo and Crimea

Bosnian
Guest

Kosovo is same like Bosnia.But at least we have a little justice on our country.
Kosovo is amazing,I don’t care what Eurovision say about that.
Kosovo is recognized from 111 countries.And ur talking about they can’t be in ur show?
Well I hope Bosnia will leave that show just like Turkey did…I hope Albania leave this show and to let Eurovision like they want.
You always put in 0 muslims,what a ignorance.
Kosovo maybe can’t be in Eurovision but in other shows and games yes.
Because they diserve it.
Greetings from Bosnia to my all albanians brothers….KOSOVO.

PROUDTOBECROATIA
Guest

Eurovision shame on you..You put there Kosovo…Shame,shame,shame,shame,shame.
You don’t diserve even one fan.
You don’t diserve any albanian here,because they are the best.

I have many friend of Kosovo and they are better than any Europian.
Shame shame shame.

AUSTRALIA
Guest

Eurovision are u serious?How could you put there Crimea and Kosovo?
Two countries who sacrificed for freedom.
You like to serbia and Russia there…Criminals countries and u don’t like Crimea and Kosovo,talented countries and good people?What a show u are?
Can u answer?

KOSOVO
Guest

I am from Kosovo and you don’t diserve any Albanian into that show.Because we are talnted and Eurovision it is just a joke.
Hope eurovision will fail one day.SHAME ON EVERYTHING

Turkeyesc
Guest

Turkey support Kosovo…Eurovision maked a bif mistake.
Because Europe it is being famous just from Kosovo singers.Shame on you Eurovision.

TURKISH
Guest

WTF KOSOVO?????Are u okay Eurovision

OR
Guest
OR

Free israel from terrorist Palestian!!!!!

JustMe
Guest
JustMe

Kosovo is recognized by 111 UN members, one of them being Sweden, the HOST of the competition. If Sweden recognizes Kosovo, and the contest is being held in Sweden, I say the Kosovo flag should be allowed.

Sam
Guest
Sam

Kosovo is a recognised by many states, how come does EBU ban it? They even oaratke in the Miss Universe competitions. Nagorno-Karabakh is a state which is more democratic than its neighbour Azerbaijan which beheads civilians after its attacks? How come are they banned? The Crimea is not a different state but a part of a state, then ban Russia, why the Crimena flag? Ban Turkey for the occupation of Cyprus and not encourage their retarded leader sue comedians across Europe. He tried to swallow Europe. And having all these and other flags next to ISIS’s flag is ridiculous; it’s… Read more »

gal
Guest
gal

Free israel from terrorist Palestian!!!!!

Charles
Guest
Charles

@Natalia Kills: Who needs those flags if Sergey himself will give the “physical performance” able to make the whole LGBT present (mostly the men in the front row who forgot their wives at home) reach mental and vocal orgams able to forget any booing … so … Do you want a more vivid and over-the-top gay moment in Eurovision than that one? And the outcome of it will be Russia rubbing their hands of satisfaction in the hopes of getting that win that will be a “slap in the face of the LGBT community”. unless people stop being blindsided and… Read more »

oxyk
Guest
oxyk

look at this Crimean flag proposal for 1992
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Crimea#/media/File:Flag_of_Crimea,_proposal_2.svg

it looks like rainbow at the top and white at the bottom 🙂 it’s 1992, when LGBT flag started to be used in 80s. what if Crimea would have this variation of flag today, would it be accepted by EBU because it looks nice for them?

oxyk
Guest
oxyk

have you seen latest update on the topic? EBU said it was a draft and not intended to be on public. They said to organizers to remove the draft, because later EBU will release updated statement. and they kinda sorry if it hurt feelings of some people. does it changes anything or it’s just a lame reaction to the public opinion?

OR
Guest
OR

@il pleut
Free Israel from terrorist palestian!!

Qifsha nonen shkijeve
Guest
Qifsha nonen shkijeve

As a kosovar i agree that our flag should be banned. We are ALBANIA and we have our flag redand black 🙂
Kosovo was, is and will aleays be Albania….long live Republics of Sanjak and Voyvodina…

Marko
Guest
Marko

Kosovo flag is rightfully banned as it is not part of EBU and not an official country. Also, in any official political, sport or whatever occassion, the kosovo flag can only be used with a note that it does not represent an independent country. It’s an agreement between Serbia nad kosovan parliament. Just because it’s banned alongside IS flag, it doesn’t put it in the same rank. It’s politically correct to Serbia and countries that do not recognize it as a country.

Natalia Kills
Guest
Natalia Kills

I can’t wait to see the rainbow flags during Sergey’s performance, Russia needs that slap of love in the face.

Bye.

Proud to be Kosovan
Guest

Kosovo not aloud??? thank you Europe!!! What about what we give to you the best singers in Europe Rita Ora and Dua Lipa.
They both from Kosovo. Shame on you shame shame.

OR
Guest
OR

@oxyk
Yes Amir from France is also Jewish Israeli, yes almost every one in Israel come from different countries 🙂

oxyk
Guest
oxyk

@OR, yes, there’s many of Ukrainians in Israel, half of my childhood friends moved there, some of them also served in Army. you have pretty nice mix of nations, can be called international state I guess 🙂 Amir for France is also Israeli? and last year golden boy had a parent from France? looks like you got even in exchanging talents 🙂

oxyk
Guest
oxyk

btw, in previous threads people asked if Jamala had new version of the song because it sounds different. Jamala in her facebook said there’s no new version, what people heard on concerts is live unmastered version of her song. she will use the same mastered minus on the stage as she did at NF.

OR
Guest
OR

@oxyk Hi darling , thanks for your compliments, yes the singers re solders in the Israeli army, we have army bends , and the singers serving 2 years as singers… yes the Israelis women are very pretty because we have mix Ethnic , like i for example my mom is from Romania and my dad is from Algeria and i also have a France passport because of my dad.. i also served at the israeli army for 2 years your video is also awesome, and the Ukrainian are also very pretty we have a lot of Jewish Ukrainian in Israel,… Read more »

oxyk
Guest
oxyk

@Fizzy, Crimea got their flag in 1917 as national flag, the status of Crimea is autonomous republic under Ukrainian protectorate. it is the only such republic in Europe, it can’t be compared to disputed territories as it’s historical home and independent state (call it a colony if you wish). They always had their flag.

oxyk
Guest
oxyk

@OR thank you for the link, I watched it with a great enjoyment. your soldiers have good voices, and such pretty girls among them! are they serving in army choir unit or it’s just soldiers who love to sing? it’s interesting, our ESC contenstants Zlata Ognevich and Tina Karol (Jewish by father) started their singing career in Ukraine Army Choir. Tina was the first artist who gave a gig to peacekeepers in Kosovo and Iraq (such a brave girl!) last year she created motivational music video for our soldiers where she says what soldier have to do during his day… Read more »

Fizzy
Guest
Fizzy

It’s good to day put out few of them. People cmon, Kosovo is still part of Serbia for many country in the world, not part of UN, not part of UNESCO and out of many other important organisation. The same for Crimea or North Cyprus, and many others. This is logic. In the end, they are not even part of Eurovision, so it’s okey from my side this decision.