British organisations were fined £150 million for not displaying the European Union insignia, including the flag, prominently.
If a European grant is given the recipient is required to display the logo on their buildings, posters and websites.
The Daily Mail reported that the YMCA in Peterborough was forced to repay £1,325 of a grant to help promote parenting skills, volunteering and youth sports because it did not follow rules such as displaying the EU flag at their premises or use it in publicity material.
Advantage West Midlands, a regional development agency, was fined £201,801 and the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce was fined £77,609.
Critics are upset about this because the UK is a £6.4 billion net contributor to the EU budget.
“It is unfair that local firms, community groups and councils are being punished by EU officials for the most minor breaches of complicated and over-bureaucratic EU rules,” the Daily Mail reported Government Minister Bob Neill as saying.
“This is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Disadvantaged and needy groups should not lose out because of failing to follow excessive EU propaganda demands to the letter.”
Several development agencies have prepared information for organizations, to help them avoid being disqualified for grants.
The Yorkshire Forward guide contains six pages on the subject of how the EU flag should appear on letterheads, press releases and publicity.
It states: “Project managers are reminded that failure to implement the publicity regulations, or implementing them incorrectly, could lead to expenditure being declared ineligible, leading to loss of grant on which the project is depending.”