After a flurry of discussion, debate and drama in response to the original flag policy of Eurovision 2016, the EBU has issued a revised — and much less restrictive — policy. In short, any flag is acceptable.
The original policy controversially limited flags to only those of nations recognised by the United Nations, the rainbow flag and the EU flag. This excluded flags such as Palestine, Crimea and the Basque flag. The policy attracted an avalanche of criticism, from both fans and political organisations.
But now the EBU has reconsidered, and is happily allowing national, regional and local flags, along with the previously permitted flags.
In a statement on Facebook, the EBU explained the new policy decision:
“After reflection and constructive talks with several participating delegations, Eurovision Song Contest organisers have agreed to relax the flag policy, and to allow national, regional and local flags of the participants e.g. the Welsh flag (as one of the UK singers is from Wales) and the Sami flag (as the Norwegian singer is originally of Sami heritage). This is in addition to the flags of all UN member states, the EU flag and the rainbow flag, as stipulated in the original guidelines.”
The EBU will also take a more tolerant approach to flags, but still emphasises that audiences should respect the non-political nature of the contest.
And the usual size restrictions still apply, meaning that while fans will be able to fly any flag they like, they still won’t be able to obscure the cameras with giant banners.