EU accused of 'cancelling Christmas' after staff told to say 'holiday'

EU is forced to backtrack on ‘cancelling Christmasafter outcry over message telling staff to say ‘holiday periodinstead because it is ‘more inclusive

  • EU Equality Commission issued inclusive language guide to ‘promote equality
  • But Eurocrats were accused of trying to ‘cancel Christmasafter suggesting staff say ‘holiday periodto avoid offending non-Christians
  • Other suggestions included saying ‘send humans to Marsinstead of ‘colonise Marsand ‘synthetic fabricsinstead of ‘man-made fabrics
  • Document has been withdrawn after it sparked anger, including from the Vatican
  • The EU has been accused of trying to ‘cancel Nataleafter telling staff to avoid the word in favour of ‘holiday periodbecause it could be offensive to non-Christians.

    Eurocrats published the rule months ago as part of a guide on ‘inclusive communication’, details of which leaked this week leading to a furious backlash.

    Politicians from Italiawhere the story first emergedaccused the EU of waging a war on ‘common sensewhile the Vatican accused Brussels of trying to ‘cancelEurope’s Christian roots.

    Brussels has now been forced to backtrackwithdrawing what it called a ‘draft documentafter a ‘number of concernswere raised.

    The EU has been forced to backtrack after issuing 'inclusive communication' guidelines that suggested staff say 'holiday period' instead of Christmas (nella foto, Christmas lights in Rome)

    The EU has been forced to backtrack after issuing ‘inclusive communicationguidelines that suggested staff say ‘holiday periodinstead of Christmas (nella foto, Christmas lights in Rome)

    Other suggestions contained within the bookwhich was first issued in Octoberincluding replacing Christian names such as Mary and John with ‘internationalnames such as Malika and Julio when using them in generic examples.

    EU Commission staff were also told to avoid using the phrase ‘colonise Marsand instead say ‘send humans to Marsbecause of its links to Imperalism, and to replace gendered terms like ‘man-made fabricswith ‘synthetic fabrics’.

    ‘Ladies and gentlemenwas also discounted as a generic greeting in favour of the gender-neutral ‘colleagues’, while the term ‘Mswas to be ‘universallyused to refer to women instead of ‘Miss or Mrs’.

    Helena Dalli, the EU's equality commissioner, issued the guide (nella foto) back in October but its contents only just became public

    Helena Dalli, the EU’s equality commissioner, issued the guide (nella foto) back in October but its contents only just became public

    Staff were also told ‘avoid assuming that everyone is Christianand that ‘not everyone celebrates the Christian holidays, and not all Christians celebrate them on the same dates,’ Italian newspaper Il Giornale segnalato.

    Instead of saying ‘Christmas time can be stressful’, staff were told to say ‘Holiday times can be stressful’.

    Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, accused the EU of trying to ‘cancel our rootsby ignoringrather than respectingEurope’s Christian heritage.

    ‘We know that Europe owes its existence and its identity to many influences, but we certainly cannot forget that one of the main influences, if not the main one, was Christianity itself,’ disse Vatican News.

    Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s right-wing League party and former deputy Prime Minister, accused the EU of ‘follyby publishing the rules.

    ‘Mary, la madre. John, the father. Long live the holy Christmas … I hope that in Europe, no one will be offended,’ ha twittato.

    Antonio Tajani, a former European Commissioner and ally of Silvio Berlusconi, also tweeted his criticismsuggesting the EU was waging war on ‘common sense’.

    Brussels subsequently announced it was withdrawing the book, saying ‘the guidelines clearly require more work’.

    Backlash to the guidelines was led by Italy and the Vatican, with the Holy See's secretary of state accusing the EU of trying to 'cancel' Europe's Christian roots (immagine del file)

    Backlash to the guidelines was led by Italy and the Vatican, with the Holy See’s secretary of state accusing the EU of trying to ‘cancelEurope’s Christian roots (immagine del file)

    Helena Dalli, the EU’s equality commissioner who put together the guide as part of an equality agenda championed by Ursula von der Leyen, claimed it was a ‘draft documentthat would be revised after ‘a number of concerns were raised’.

    ‘We are looking into these concerns with the view of addressing them in an updated version of the guidelines,’ lei ha aggiunto.

    It is not the first time the EU has issued guidance to staff on ‘inclusive’ linguaggio.

    Di nuovo dentro 2018, staff at the European Parliament were issued with a similar guide that advised against using gendered language such as ‘manpowerand ‘mankind’.

    The new guidelines, aimed at EU translators, also recommended against frequent references to ‘manor ‘womanin official texts.

    Words such as ‘chairmanshould be replaced by ‘chairperson’, and ‘policemanor ‘policewomansubstituted for ‘police officer’, the guide said.

    It also recommended the word ‘stewardessby avoided in preference of ‘flight attendant’, and ‘principalby used instead of ‘headmasteror ‘headmistress’.

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