The European Commission Representation in the UK and the Head of European Parliament Information Office wrote to the Express pointing out the inaccuracies in their story:
Regarding your front page of today, only 2 buildings in the UK are expected to fly the European flag for Europe Day and the Commission would not fine countries that did not do so. The rules that make this provision were passed in 2006 by all EU countries, including the UK. No other public building has to fly the flag on 9 May though some may choose to do so. Some schools want to do something to mark the day and ask us for ideas. We send these purely on demand and they in no way constitute “instructions”.
But they were told their letter would not be published by the paper.
And the Express was true to its word. But the paper did find room for three readers' letters/emails on the issue - all echoing the paper's line. From B Lawrence, Crowle, Lincs:
Hoist the Union Flag in defiance on Europe Day
Yet another diktat arrives from Europe (“EU ﬂag rule: We’re poles apart”, May 4). We now have the EU demanding that we ﬂy their ﬂag over our public buildings for a week to celebrate the EU’s Europe Day on Monday.
Schools are also being sent suggestions on how to celebrate. What can they do if we refuse to comply and then ignore any ﬁne they may see ﬁt to impose? Ask us to leave the EU? I doubt that very much. Not only do they say we must ﬂy the ﬂag of a political European federation and send an email photo as proof of having done so but they are also trying to brainwash our children. Just who do these people think they are?
We are not a federal state. We have a monarchy and our own ﬂags which most of us are justly proud of. It is to be hoped that people make a stand next week and ﬂy our Union Flag instead. I most certainly shall.
The time comes when we must say enough is enough. That time, Mr Cameron, is now. Get us out of the EU.
From Ann Masters:
We've nothing to celebrate about being trapped in EU
I sincerely hope David Cameron ignores the request to ﬂy the EU ﬂag on all Government buildings next Monday. To celebrate the EU’s Europe Day? This must be a joke. What do we have to celebrate regarding Europe? This is Great Britain and we have our own ﬂag and long may it remain so.
We only have to take our minds to April 29 to show what a great nation we are when we saw Catherine and William married. This day showed just how patriotic the British people are. This is our country and we have to ﬁght these Eurocrats who try to diminish what we are.
I am certain there are many people like myself who do not wish to be part of a Europe that wants to control us in every way possible. We still have time to pull out and once again be in control of our own destiny.
And from P Neighbour, Windsor, Berks:
Time to fly in the face of latest drivel from Brussels
This latest drivel from Brussels saying the EU ﬂag must be ﬂown from all public buildings here on May 9 is the last straw. Sadly I read that the ﬂag must be ﬂown at Eland House, Westminster, due to its role managing expenditure by the European Regional Development Fund.
When is someone in the government going to have the backbone and say ‘hang on’ enough is enough and ignore such rubbish in the same way as the French do when it doesn’t suit them?
So the Express knows its article wasn't true, but rather than correct it, or print the 'other side' of the argument, they decide to ignore the truth and repeat - three times - the original, inaccurate claims.