Flag of the UIGSE-FSE
The "International Union of Guides and Scouts of Europe - Federation of European Scouting" (UIGSE-FSE, Union Internationale des Guides et Scouts d'Europe - Fédération du Scoutisme Européen) is an international association officially recognised by the Holy See (Pontifical Decree, 26 August 2003), with a participative status in the Council of Europe granted on 12 March 198 (as a NGO).
Incorporated in 1976, the UIGSE-FSE succeeded the FSE, which was founded by a group of French and German chiefs in Cologne on 1 November 1956. In 1957, the FSE stated that it "recognises the full value of Christian faith. It acts and makes decisions according to the rules of this faith". Some groups and units that refused the religious character of the association left, the most important of them being the Dutch and English scouts association. The real founders of FSE are Perig Géraud-Kearog and his wife Lizig, who joined the French association in 1962, redacted a set of core texts and the "Charter of natural and Christian principles of European scouting" (1965).The UIGSE-FSE is today an umbrella association grouping some 55,000 members from the national associations of Austria, Belgium, Belarus, Canada (one Catholic and one Protestant association), Czech Republic, France, Germany (one Catholic and one Protestant association), Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Romania (with Catholic and Orthodox members), Russia, Switzerland and Ukraine. The association has its seat in Château-Landon, France.
The flag of UIGSE-FSE is vertically divided white-black with, in the middle, the emblem of the association made of a red eight-pointed cross charged with a yellow fleur-de-lis.
The website of the French association (Association Française des Guides et Scouts d'Europe, AGSE) gives more details on the history and symbolics of the flag. The flag is presented as the Étendard Baussant, a name recalling the Templars' standard. It was designed in 1966 during the pilgrimage celebrating the millenium of the abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, organized by the French branch of the FSE. A reenaction of the Nebrews' exodus was performed: the "Hebrews", waving white flags symbolizing the light, crossed the bay and reached the abbey, followed by the "Egyptians", waving black flag symbolizing darkness. At the end of the ceremony, the white and black flags were sewn together and the cross symbolizing the movement (described as "the red cross charged with the golden fleur-de-lis") was placed in the middle. The white fimbriation around the part of the cross located in the black field of the flag recalls that the Light always wins over the Dark.
The emblem of the European Scouts was designed by the founders of the movement in 1956 in Cologne. The statutes of the UIGSE-FSE says:
The common emblem to all the associations members of the Union shall be the eight-pointed red cross of the abbey of Morimond (commonly called 'cross of the Hospitalier Order of Saint John of Jerusalem'), charged with a fleur-de-lis or symbolizing scoutism.
The Jesuit father Jacques Sevin (1882-1951), founder of the Scouts de France on 25 July 1920, already used the eight-pointed cross as the emblem of one of his first scouts' units, founded in Lille. The design of the emblem was definitively established by Pierre Joubert in 1957, who fixed the design of the fleur-de-lis and harmonized it with the cross. The designer Pierre Joubert (1910-2002) is credited of more than 15,000 works and of the illustration of more than 1,000 books; he has remained famous for his scouts' calendars and the covers of the books of the series Signe de Piste, founded in 1937 to publish "scouts' novels".
The original "baussant" of IUGSE-FSE is square, but it is sometimes made with 2:3 proportions.