The second was a variant by Arsène Heitz, who worked for the Council’s postal service and had submitted dozens of designs; the design of his that was accepted by the Assembly was similar to Salvador de Madariaga’s, but rather than a constellation, the stars were arranged in a circle. In 1987, Heitz claimed that his inspiration had been the crown of twelve stars of the Woman of the Apocalypse, often found in Marian iconography. [See “Real politics, at last”. The Economist. 2004-10-28.] …

The French satirical magazine Le Canard enchaîné reacted to Heitz’s statement with an article entitled L’Europe violée par la Sainte Vierge (“Europe Raped by the Blessed Virgin”) in the 20 December 1989 edition. Heitz also made a connection to the date of the flag’s adoption, 8 December 1955, coinciding with the Catholic Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.