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The EU accused of trying to cancel Christmas!  Inclusive language opinion dropped after criticism – POLITICO

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The European Commission was forced to do an about-face on Tuesday after its internal communications guide was accused of trying to cancel Christmas and launching an attack on “common sense”.

The 30-page guide on how to use more neutral and LGBTQ + friendly language in the Commission was unveiled by the equality commissioner, Helena Dalli, end of October.

The internal document was picked up by Italian tabloid il Giornale, resulting in a torrent of abuse on social media as well as from a senior Vatican official, far-right politicians and a former European commissioner.

As a result, Dalli was forced to back down. “Concerns have been expressed about some examples provided in the Inclusive Communication Guidelines, which, as is customary with such guidelines, is [a] work in progress ”, the Maltese Commissioner tweeted. “We are reviewing these concerns with a view to resolving them in an updated version of the guidelines.”

The document is part of a plan defended by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to implement a “Union for Equality” and ensure that “everyone is valued and recognized in all our documents, regardless of their gender, their racial origin or ethnicity, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. . ”

He asked officials to “never address an audience as ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’, but to use expressions such as ‘Dear Colleagues’. The person to whom you are speaking”, and instead of using “Ms universally”.

The most controversial part of the advice was to “avoid assuming that everyone is a Christian”.

“Not everyone celebrates Christian holidays, and not all Christians celebrate them on the same dates,” the document said. He advises staff to avoid phrases such as “Christmas time can be stressful” and use “vacation time can be stressful” instead.

He also says not to use the expression “Christian names” and to use “first name” or “first name” instead, as well as not to use names “which generally belong to one religion”. He gives the example of the use of “Malika and Julio” instead of “Maria and John” to describe an “international couple”.

The guidelines also recommended avoiding the use of “gender-related words” such as “artificial fabrics”, which should be replaced by more generic terms such as “synthetic fabrics”.

The guidelines have not worked well. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State and one of the most senior officials within the Holy See, told Vatican News: “Of course we know that Europe owes its existence and identity to many. many contributions, but we certainly cannot forget that one of his main contributions, if not the main one, was Christianity itself.

The far right was generally dismayed.

“The European Commission, through an internal document, considers the Christmas celebrations insufficiently inclusive,” wrote Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Brotherhood of Italy party, on her Facebook page. “In the name of a sinister ideology, he wants to suppress the culture of a people. Our history and our identity cannot be canceled, they must be respected.

Matteo Salvini, leader of the Italian Right-wing League, echoed Meloni’s criticism. He called the Commission guidelines a “folly”, and later mocked its content. “Marie, the mother. Jean, the father. Long live holy Christmas… I hope that in Europe no one will be offended, ”he tweeted.

Even a former European commissioner joined in the attacks. Antonio Tajani, close ally of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and former President of the European Parliament, said on twitter: “Long live the Europe of common sense!” after Dalli’s U-turn.

A current Commission official who did not want to be named also criticized Dalli and his document. “Commissioner Dalli compensates for her total lack of weight at the College [of Commissioners] pulling out of his hat “inclusive guidelines” that deconstruct the most basic rules, ”the staff member said. “We are going crazy. With Dalli, we experience surrealism.

Both the European Parliament and the European Council made similar recommendations to the Commission, but they were less explicit in their examples. In January 2018, the Council released its guidelines to promote the use of “gender neutral names that do not assume whether it is a man or a woman doing a particular job or playing a particular role”.

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