Nato apologises after hanging Spanish flag upside down at Madrid summit

Nato has publicly apologised to Spain after it “incorrectly positioned” its national flag during Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s speech at the summit held in Madrid on Wednesday.

spain nato flag upside down
It's not the first time that Spain's flag is positioned upside down whilst Pedro Sánchez attends an official event. Screenshot: NATO live broadcast

“Due to an error, the Spanish flag was incorrectly positioned at the beginning of the summit,” said Nato spokesperson Oana Lungescu.

It was displayed the wrong way up when Prime Minister Sánchez gave his opening speech to world leaders, including American president Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

As can be seen in the picture above, although the red, yellow and red stripes of Spain’s flag look correct, the coat of arms is the wrong way up.

Spain’s official coat of arms, the right way up.

The situation was particularly embarrassing for the Spanish government as Madrid is this year’s Nato host nation. 

“The error was immediately corrected, as you can see in the photo. Nato apologises for this mistake and thanks Spain for the outstanding hosting of the Summit,” tweeted Lungescu.

Government sources have told the Spanish press that it was a “Nato error” given that the summit is being organised by staff belonging to the intergovernmental military alliance, even though Spain is the host and is helping with proceedings. 

This is not the first time there has been an issue with the way the Spanish flag has been presented during an official event.

Recently in April 2022, while Sánchez had a dinner meeting with Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, the same mistake occurred and the flag was also seen hanging upside down. 

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VIDEO: ‘Take your ties off’, Spain’s PM says in bid to save energy

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has made a bizarre callout by asking office workers across the country to follow his lead in ditching their ties as a means of using less air-conditioning, and thus saving energy.

VIDEO: 'Take your ties off', Spain's PM says in bid to save energy

In a move some might be surprised was even necessary given Spain’s famously hot climate, Sánchez urged office workers to follow his own tie-free lead.

“As you can see, I’m not wearing a tie,” said Sánchez, smiling broadly, pointing to his open neck shirt during a news conference in Madrid on Friday.

Click on the play button below to watch the video:

Feeling a little more comfortable would save energy if it resulted in less air-conditioning being used, he said.

“This means that we can all save energy,” he argued, adding that he had asked all ministers and public officials to stop wearing ties and hoped the private sector would also follow suit.

The Spanish government is on Monday set to adopt a set of “urgent” energy-saving measures, Sánchez said, “in line with what other European countries do”, without elaborating.

Following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the European Commission released in mid-May a €210-billion plan aiming to boost renewable energies and reduce energy consumption to put an end to dependency on Russian gas.

In response, Spain has adopted several measures including encouraging remote work and the limiting of air conditioning in offices in summer and radiators in winter.

The 27 EU states also agreed on Tuesday “to reduce their gas demand by 15 percent compared to their average consumption in the past five years, between August 1st 2022 and March 31st 2023, with measures of their own choice,” the European Council said in a statement.

Several German cities said this week they would step up efforts to save energy, with Hanover in the north announcing plans to only offer cold showers at public pools and sports centres and Berlin switching off spotlights illuminating its historic monuments.