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Unidentified and Mistaken Flags and Ensigns (Spain)

Last modified: 2006-02-05 by santiago dotor
Keywords: spain | unidentified flag | nato | nationalist | european presidency (spain) | stars: 12 (yellow) | letter: e | letter: ñ | star (black) | canton: european union |
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Unidentified Spanish NATO flag

Last Sunday I visited an exhibition commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Spanish Ministry of Defence —which merged the former Army, Navy and Air Ministries— at Madrid's Museo de la Ciudad. Among several regimental and other units' flags, there was one flag which particularly struck me. It appeared within an area dealing with international military cooperation and was flanked by the flags of Eurocorps and Eurofor. None of the NCOs which were present at the exhibition acting as spokes(wo)men could tell me with absolute certainty what the flag was, but they were quite sure it belonged to the Spanish headquarters at the NATO HQ.

The flag was 2:3, red with a golden border (about as wide as 1/16 of the hoist) on all four sides (plus a golden fringe). Centred on the red field and occupying almost all of it was the NATO emblem, with all four 'rays' shorter than in the NATO flag and of equal length. Behind the four-pointed star but on top of the white circle were the pillars of Hercules, basically as in the Spanish arms but with yellow/gold column shafts and with no crowns on top.

Santiago Dotor, 30 October 2002

Spanish European Presidency Flag or nationalist UFE?

Unidentified nationalist flag? Possible Spanish EU 1995 Presidency flag?
[Nationalist UFE or Spanish European Presidency Flag?] [Spanish European Presidency Flag 1995]
both by António Martins

During the Sant Jordi 1999 celebrations, I saw a Spanish nationalist flag: white flag with letter "" in center. I believe the letter is red-yellow-red or only red.

Jaume Ollé, 25 April 1999

I think that was simply the emblem of the Spanish Presidency to the European Union (c.1996) on a bedsheet. The President of the European Union is chosen on a biannual rotatory basis among the prime ministers of the member states. When this happens, the country in question uses a certain logo to denote "it is their turn". In the case of Spain, the letter "ñ" was chosen as something unique to Spanish.

Santiago Dotor, 3 May 1999

I have made a reconstructed version of this, assuming the "ñ" is Arial Black lower case, approx. 2/3 hoist high, and centered.

António Martins, 23 May 1999

The symbol used by Spain when it was our turn in the Presidence of the European Comunity was an "e" with the "~" (the symbol on the "ñ") over it. The background was blue, and the "e" was surrounded by 12 stars (like the European Union flag).

Gonzalo O'Kelly, 16 February 2000

Here is a phonecard with the "e~" logo on it, on a white background (that of the phonecard, by the way). The caption at the right reads Presidencia Española del Consejo de la Unión Europea i.e. Spanish Presidence of the European Union Council.

Antonio Gutiérrez, 18 February 2000

The presidency of the European Union is taken by the Head of State (usually the Prime Minister) of each Member State for six months on a rotating basis. I still think that we are not talking about the same flag Jaume Ollé reported. The Spanish European Union presidency flag was blue (with yellow stars), this UFE is white; the Spanish European Union presidency flag had an "e~", this UFE has a "ñ". They are two completely different flags — no way Jaume Ollé could have confused these two. Please note this letter, an "e" with a tilde, is no Spanish letter but rather the country's initial (España) with a tilde on it. Spanish tend to regard this diacritical and the letter "ñ" as a symbol of hispanity, both in land and abroad.

António Martins, 18 February 2000

As far as I know the Spanish European Union Presidency chose the "e~" symbol to be used in official papers but not intended as a flag though it might have been used occasionally. Its colour was dark red (note that each country has an identification colour within the European Union). The tilde was somehow big in comparison with the "e" to stress its presence and apparent contradiction. The font and colour are those shown in the telephone card, so I think the above GIF shoud be redrawn accordingly. I do not think the "" flag ever existed.

I remember the design was specially made shortly after a conflict between Spain and the European Union arose when Spain tried to make it compulsory for all computers to be sold in Spain to bear the "ñ" character, something which was considered illegal by the European Union because it was an offence against the freedom of circulation of goods within the Union.

M. V. Blanes, 18 February 2000

Military UFE (Cádiz)

[Military UFE (Cádiz, Spain)]
by Santiago Dotor

A sky blue over dark blue flag with a white letter C in center is flown in the military dependencies in Cádiz castle.

Jaume Ollé, 21 September 1999

Spanish Flag with black star

[Spanish Flag with black star (Spain)]
by António Martins

While hitchhiking from Sweden to Portugal last August, I noticed an erroneous Spanish flag depiction, a regular flag with a large five-pointed star in the middle, instead of the coat-of-arms. I guess someone confused the former coat-of-arms's large black eagle for this star. It was depicted in a telephone booth's multilanguage instructions panel in a gas station on the highway Orange-Nîmes [France], quite near the Spanish border. The flags were black and white newspaper-style, with ink dots on a metallic background, and so the colors of my GIF are assumed, by comparison with the other, correct, flags.

António Martins, 18 July 1999

Coast Guard European Ensign?

The Spanish Civil Guard (a semimilitary police organization for rural areas, customs and other services) used also in the Coast Guard ships the European flag with the Spanish one in the canton.

Jaume Ollé, 3 August 1998

In the page dealing with these 'European' civil ensigns there is a clear statement by Ralf Stelter explaining how unofficial these ensigns are. Armand du Payrat, editor of the French Navy's Album des Pavillons 2000 also confirmed me this lack of status when I told him about the French 'European' civil ensign.

Ivan Sache, 21 September 2001

I believe that the quote from Jaume Ollé only states that the Coast Guard (or at least some particular vessel at a particular time) uses this flag, not necessarily as an ensign and not even necessarily as an official item.

António Martins, 26 September 2001