Thursday, 18 September 2008

Yes, we have no more straight cucumbers

Fed up with decades of hostile propaganda about its rules on the shape and size of cucumbers (propaganda which has always been attacked as unfounded by the EU defenders) the EU commission has decided to abandon its rules on straight cucumbers and on 25 other types of fruit and vegetables. The Chairman of the Anti-Bureaucracy Group in the EU commission, Edmund Stoiber (the former Bavarian Prime Minister) says, “Everyone knows what a cucumber is.” Yet there are rules on the EU on everything from cucumbers to hazel nuts, garlic and watermelons. Some people, however, think that the rules should stay. The man responsible for fruit and vegetable affairs in the German farmers’ union, Hans-Dieter Stallknecht, says that no one in the industry has called for these rules to be abolished and that the move now is being itself driven by pure politics. Stallknecht (which means “Stable Boy” in German) says that the Commission is going to damage a system which functions well just in order to show that it is acting against bureaucracy. Other EU states seem to agree: when the matter was put to a vote, only 8 states voted in favour and all the major agrarian states including Germany, France and Italy voted against. Indeed, the national bureaucracies are likely to fight against the EU bureaucracy’s attempt to reduce bureaucracy. In any case, the Commission wants to abolish only 26 out of its 36 rules on fruit and veg: it wants to keep the rules on the 10 most important products, including apples and tomatoes, which in any case form 75 per cent of the market. In any case, the EU’s rules are in fact 99 per cent identical to those of the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva, where they indeed have their origin. The origin of the straight cucumber, indeed, lies not in Brussels but in Geneva. So even if EU directive 1677/88 is abolished, which provides for the straightness of “extra” class cucumbers, then the cucumbers themselves will remain unchanged since their shape is regulated by a UNECE rule which says they cannot bend by more than 10mm for every 10cm of length. [Hendrik Kafsack, Handelsblatt, 2 September 2008]

-- From The European Journal. Sign up for FREE to John Laughland's 'Intelligence Digest' to find out what’s really happening in Europe --

No comments: