Germany’s federal parliament criminalizes burning of European Union (EU) flag and desecration of EU anthem.

May 16, 2020

In an effort to curtail “hate” in Germany, the Bundestag (federal parliament) has approved a new law that could enforce a prison sentence of up to three years for burning or damaging a European Union flag.

The new law also extends to the EU anthem (“Ode to Joy” by Beethoven), a move similar communist China’s criminalization of disrespecting their national anthem.

After months of debate, the Bundestag has voted on Friday in favor of the new law to protect the European Union flag from being destroyed or damaged, which is now considered a hate crime.

Punishments range from fines to prison sentences of up to three years.

The only party that voted against the new law is the Alternative for Germany (AfD), which is considered a right-wing or “far-right” political party, citing “excessive interference with freedom of expression.”

Angela Merkel’s justice minister Christine Lambrecht, a proponent of the ban, said burning flags is not a peaceful protest, and therefore should not be a right. She said that burning fuels “hatred, anger and aggression” and “hurts the feelings of many people.”

In the U.S., burning the American flag is not illegal, although there have been multiple attempts by Congress to legislate flag burning, without success.

In November 26, 2016, then newly elected President Donald Trump tweeted, “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”

And in 2019, Trump tweeted his support to outlaw flag burning, saying he was “all in” for a “strong BAN on burning our American Flag,” calling it “A no brainer!”