Inaugurated in 1958 as the Common Assembly, the European Parliament originally consisted of representatives selected by the national parliaments of EU member countries. Beginning in 1979, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) were elected by direct universal suffrage to terms of five years.Britannica.com
When I saw that today’s theme over at Sunday Stamps, hosted by See it on a Postcard, was Maps/Flags my mind went right away to this set of GB commemorative stamps from 1979. Recent turbulent events in the UK over Brexit make this particular issue a poignant piece of political history. This isn’t intended as a political post, however, although as a British citizen who has lived almost her entire adult life in Italy, I have always considered myself thoroughly ‘European’!
Issued on 9 May 1979 to mark the very first Direct Elections to European Assembly, this set consisted of four very similar stamps featuring subtle variations of the main design of hands – all conspicuously white – placing flags of member nations into ballot boxes. This is the 9 pence stamp, with a blue background, with the other denominations seeing different directions and colour changes of the background. I don’t own this entire set, and only have this used stamp, which I carefully steamed off an envelope as a child. The post mark seems particularly quaint, with its ‘REMEMBER to use the POSTCODE’ slogan.
The flags featured include the original six member nations – Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, and the Netherlands – as well as the three nations that joined later in 1973 – Denmark, Ireland, and the UK – with the UK Union Flag the very first in the top left hand corner.
The four stamps were designed by Stafford Cliff, best known as the creative director of the Conran Design Group in London.
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