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Pickles slams EU certificates move

Britons could be forced to accept birth, marriage and death certificates branded with the European Union flag as part of an "aggressive propaganda campaign" by Brussels, a Cabinet minister has claimed.

The European Commission insisted the certificates would be "optional alternatives" to national documents and would not be compulsory.

But Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said that it could eventually become mandatory for councils to adopt the standardised multilingual EU forms - with the royal coat of arms banished from the documents.

The standardised form is part of an initiative aimed at cutting red tape by making it easier for officials in EU member states to accept as genuine documents from elsewhere in the 28-member bloc.

But Mr Pickles claimed that under the new EU regulation the certificates could follow the same path as the driving licence, which began with mutual recognition before eventually becoming an EU-wide document complete with flag.

Mr Pickles said: "From cradle to grave, Britons are now to be stamped with the EU flag, as Brussels starts interfering in people's birth, death and marriage.

"This imposed Euro-law is part of an aggressive propaganda campaign to bully councils and public institutions into flying the EU flag at every opportunity.

"This EU stamp won't be optional - just look at the Euro-creep of the EU flag ending up on every driving licence. Eurocrats are brazen about their political agenda to advance their 'European project', wipe nation states off the map, and remove the Union Jack and our Royal Crest from public life."

But Mr Pickles' claims were flatly rejected by the European Commission.

A spokesman said: "It is plain wrong to suggest that the use of these certificates will become mandatory as the text of the proposal is absolutely clear that the certificates are an optional alternative but not in any way a replacement for national certificates."

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