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THE favourite to become President of the European Union is determined to replace Britain’s Union Flag and national anthem with “European symbols”.

Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy believes separate national emblems should be scrapped in a drive to create a new Euro identity.

He also supports a huge extension of EU influence over town halls, schools and sports, and he wants “green taxes” to be imposed across all 27 member nations.

Details of his staunch Euro federalist views emerged yesterday as Brussels sources confirmed he is almost certain to be installed as EU President on Thursday.

But opponents warned that his appointment is certain to bring a fresh wave of unacceptable interference in Britain’s affairs.

Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “Any attempt to move the EU further towards a federal state would be unacceptable.

“The British people never had a chance to give their view on whether the job of president should exist at all.”

Tory MP Douglas Carswell, a leading Eurosceptic, said: “It is pretty shocking that there is a chance that the EU is about to be led by a man who wants to erase symbols of national identity.

“This shows that the European superstate has arrived. If we are serious about doing something about this threat, we should stop complaining and starting holding a referendum on Britain’s future relationship with the EU.”

Mr Van Rompuy, 62, has overtaken Tony Blair as the favourite for the presidency, which was created under the Lisbon Treaty.European leaders will name the winner in Brussels.

Many see Mr Van Rompuy as a less divisive and flashy figure than Mr Blair – someone who will not overshadow leaders such as France’s Nicolas Sarkozy or Germany’s Angela Merkel.

But critics are horrified at Mr Van Rompuy’s fanatically pro-federalist views. He said he favoured the Lisbon Treaty as long as it promoted the aim of “more Europe”. He also helped to draw up a federalist manifesto for his Flemish Christian Democrat Party, calling for more EU power.

It said: “Apart from the euro, other national symbols need to be replaced by European symbols – licence plates, identity cards, presence of more EU flags, one-time EU sports events.”

Speaking at a private dinner organised by EU federalists at the Chateau de Val-Duchesse, where the EU’s founding Treaty of Rome was negotiated in 1957, Mr Van Rompuy also backed plans for “green taxes” to fund the EU.

He said: “The possibilities of financial levies at European level must be seriously examined, and for the first time large countries in the union are open to that.”

But Mr Hague said: “Britain would not be the only country that would find a proposal to give the EU tax-raising powers totally unacceptable. Advocacy of such a policy is not a fruitful use of anyone’s time.”

Pieter Van Cleppe, of the think- tank Open Europe, said: “Van Rompuy is your typical EU federalist. He isn’t going to step on anyone’s toes or try to dominate the world like Tony Blair or President Sarkozy might have. continues here

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