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France removes EU flag from Arc de Triomphe amid right-wing outrage
2 January 2022, 18:29 | Updated: 4 January 2022, 12:25
France has removed the European Union flag from the Arc de Triomphe amid outrage from right-wing opponents of President Emmanuel Macron.
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Junior European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said the flag had been taken down as planned, despite suggesting on Friday that it would remain for "several days".
It came as the Arc de Triomphe was also lit up in blue for the New Year, celebrating the beginning of France's six-month presidency of the EU.
However, the move led to outrage among politicians, with far-right leader Marine Le Pen claiming that "replacing the French flag with the European flag under the Arc de Triomphe is an attack on the identity of our country".
Far-right independent candidate Eric Zemmour also said it was an "outrage".
Ms Le Pen had previously warned on Saturday that she would appeal to France's Council of State to remove the EU flag.
She tweeted on Sunday: "A great patriotic victory at the dawn of 2022!
"The government was forced to remove the flag of the European Union from the Arc de Triomphe.
However, Mr Beaune said: "We didn't back down, there was no change of plan... I fully assume France's destiny is in Europe."
Mr Macron beat Ms Le Pen in the 2017 election, with a potential rematch between the two expected if the President announces he will run again in April.