The Flag of Europe is the flag and emblem of the European Union (EU) and Council of Europe (CoE) (it is also used to indicate the euro or eurozone countries). It consists of a circle of 12 golden (yellow) stars on a blue background. The blue represents the west, the number of stars represents completeness while their position in a circle represents unity. The stars do not vary according to the members of either organisation as they are intended to represent all the peoples of Europe, even those outside European integration. There are however alternative, unofficial, religious interpretations of the flag.
The flag was designed by Arsene Heitz and Paul Levy in 1955 for the CoE as its symbol, and the CoE urged it to be adopted by other organisations. In 1985 the EU, which was then the European Economic Community (EEC), adopted it as its own flag (having had no flag of its own before) at the initiative of the European Parliament. The flag is not mentioned in the EU's treaties, its incorporation being dropped along with the European Constitution, but it is formally adopted in law.
Despite it being the flag of two separate organisations, it is often more associated with the EU due to the EU's higher profile and heavy usage of the emblem. The flag has also been used to represent Europe in sporting events and as a pro-democracy banner outside the Union. Euroscepticism, however, makes its use controversial in some cases. It has partly inspired other flags, such as those of other European organisations and those where the EU has been heavily involved (such as Bosnia and Herzegovina).