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'Symbol of tolerance': EU pushes for its flag to fly at Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony

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By Euronews
FILE: European Union flags wave in the wind outside EU headquarters in Brussels.
FILE: European Union flags wave in the wind outside EU headquarters in Brussels.   -   Copyright  Yves Logghe/AP
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European Union leaders requested on Sunday that the bloc's starred flag fly at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

In a letter sent to International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, EU Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas and Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Jansa asked that Slovenian athletes be allowed to bear the EU flag alongside their national flag for the games' kick-off.

Slovenia is currently holding the rotating presidency of the EU.

"This will render Slovenian athletes ambassadors for European Unity and the values underpinning our Union, which match those of the Olympic movement," the two EU officials wrote.

"We will fully support you in any way you see appropriate in introducing this special and historical gesture," the pair added.

"The EU flag needs to show in the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony as a symbol of peaceful coexistence, tolerance and solidarity," wrote Schinas as he posted the letter on his Twitter account.

France expressed its "full support" for the idea. French Deputy-Minister for European affairs Clément Beaune tweeted that it would be "a beautiful symbol, complementing our national flag."

The IOC was yet to respond to the request.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, which were postponed due to the pandemic, are set to kick off on Friday.

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