Three-year prison sentence for people who damage EU flag, German state proposes

Three-year prison sentence for people who damage EU flag, German state proposes

June 23, 2019– Mary Greeley News – Anyone who attacks the blue and gold starred cloth displayed in public, rendering it “removed, destroyed, damaged, unusable or unrecognizable” could be slapped with a lengthy jail term or hefty fine.

The proposed law will also protect the European anthem, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, according to a report in Saarbrucken Zeitung, a daily newspaper in West Germany. The Saxon bill seeks to bring the status of the union’s flag into line with that of other foreign flags and national symbols.

The new bill says attacks “on the reputation of the symbols of the European Union” are unacceptable, according to Saarbrucken Zeitung.

It states that it is “a commandment of self-respect and self-assertion” that the state protects the EU “against malicious contempt”.

Paragraph 104 of Germany’s criminal code states that anyone who damages the flag or symbol of a foreign nation will be imprisoned or fined.

A precondition is that Germany maintains diplomatic relations with the state.

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Saxony, home to four million people, sits in eastern Germany, where far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) emerged as the strongest group in last month’s European elections.

The anti-immigration group came out on top in the polls in Saxony and neighboring state Brandenburg, while it secured 11 percent of the vote nationally.

People living in the country’s eastern region live with higher rates of unemployment and lower living standards compared to those in the rest of Germany.

Alexander Garland, co-leader of the anti-immigration AfD, said his group enjoyed support in “freedom-loving” parts of Germany.

AfD MP Beatrix von Storch has called for Italian deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, who is also fiercely anti-immigration, to be given the Nobel Peace Prize for his “great contribution to the security and stability of Europe”.

The country has seen a rising populist sentiment in recent years and the rise of the far-right after German Chancellor Angela Merkel left in 1million migrants.

In May’s European parliament elections, voters across the continent sent a damning warning to Brussels as anti-EU parties made gains.

British voters overwhelmingly got behind Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which won 29 seats in the European parliament.

Mary Greeley News

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