EU accused of ‘cancelling Christmas’ after telling staff ‘holiday period’
The EU has been accused of trying to ‘cancel Christmas’ after telling staff to avoid the word ‘holiday period’ as it could be offensive to non-Christians.
Eurocrats published the rule months ago as part of a guide to “inclusive communication,” details of which were leaked this week, sparking a furious backlash.
Politicians from Italy – where the story first emerged – accused the EU of waging a war on ‘common sense’, while the Vatican accused Brussels of trying to ‘cancel’ Europe’s Christian roots.
Brussels has now been forced to backtrack – withdrawing what it called a “draft document” after raising “a number of concerns”.
EU has been forced to return after issuing ‘inclusive communication’ guidelines that suggested staff say ‘holiday season’ instead of Christmas (photo, Christmas lights in Rome)
Other suggestions in the book — first released in October — include replacing first names like Mary and John with “international” names like Malika and Julio when used in generic examples.
European Commission officials were also told to avoid the phrase “colonize Mars” and instead say “send people to Mars” because of its ties to imperialism, and to use gender-based terms such as “man-made fabrics.” replaced by ‘synthetics’.
“Ladies and gentlemen” was also disregarded as a generic greeting in favor of the gender neutral “colleagues”, while the term “ma’am” would be used “universal” to refer to women rather than “ma’am or miss”.
Helena Dalli, the EU Commissioner for Equality, released the guide (pictured) in October, but its content has only just become public
Staff were also told ‘avoid assuming everyone is Christian’ and that ‘not everyone celebrates the Christian holidays, and not all Christians celebrate them on the same dates,’ the Italian newspaper Il Giornale reported.
Instead of saying ‘Christmas time can be stressful’, employees were told that ‘Holiday times can be stressful’.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, accused the EU of trying to “destroy our roots” by ignoring – rather than respecting – Europe’s Christian heritage.
“We know that Europe owes its existence and identity to many influences, but we must certainly not forget that one of the most important, if not the most important, was Christianity itself,” he said. Vatican News.
Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing Italian League party and former deputy prime minister, accused the EU of “foolishness” in publishing the rules.
‘Mary, the mother. John, the father. Long live the holy Christmas… I hope no one in Europe will be offended,” he tweeted.
Antonio Tajani, a former European commissioner and ally of Silvio Berlusconi, also tweeted his criticism, suggesting the EU was waging war on “common sense”.
Brussels subsequently announced that it was withdrawing the book, saying that “the guidelines clearly require more work”.
Opposition to the guidelines was led by Italy and the Vatican, with the Secretary of State of the Holy See accusing the EU of trying to ‘cancel’ Europe’s Christian roots (file image)
Helena Dalli, the EU Commissioner for Equality who drafted the guide as part of an equality agenda championed by Ursula von der Leyen, claimed it was a “draft document” that would be revised after “a number of concerns were raised”.
“We are investigating these concerns with the intention of addressing them in an updated version of the guidelines,” she added.
It is not the first time that the EU has issued guidelines to staff on ‘inclusive’ language use.
In 2018, European Parliament staff received a similar guide that discouraged the use of gender language such as ‘manpower’ and ‘humanity’.
The new guidelines, aimed at EU translators, also discourage frequent references to ‘man’ or ‘woman’ in official texts.
Words like “chairman” should be replaced with “chairman” and “police officer” or “policewoman” should be replaced with “police officer,” according to the guide.
It also advised avoiding the word “stewardess” in place of “stewardess”, and “principal” by using “director” or “director”.