The European Commission has released a document on inclusive communication to be adopted within the EU institutions that has angered the Italian right. Christmas and “Christian traditions” have something to do with it.
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The Italian right thunders in defense of “Christian roots“. Matteo Salvini, Giorgia Meloni, but also Forza Italia with Antonio Tajani in the front row, lash out against a European Commission document that is circulating in these hours. The first rumors were published yesterday by the Giornale, immediately sparking the harsh reactions of the leaders of the right: “The European Commission, through an internal document, considers Christmas a not very ‘inclusive’ holiday – the president of Fratelli d’Italia tweeted yesterday – In the target also the names Maria and Giovanni. The reason? They could be ‘offensive’ to non-Christians. Now enough, our history and our identity are not erased“. Then Salvini, who raised the bar again:”MARIA. GIUSEPPE. LONG LIVE CHRISTMAS – tweeted the leader of the League – Hoping that no one in Europe is offended …“. Meanwhile, Tajani and other Forza Italia MEPs announce a written question to the EU Commission.
But what exactly is this text we are talking about? The document consists of an update of the guidelines for correct and inclusive communication, which already existed but was recently revised and in these hours sent internally to the bodies of the European Union. The goal is to underline that “every person in the EU has the right to be treated equally“without references of”gender, ethnicity, race, religion, disability and sexual orientation“. In conclusion, nobody wants to cancel Christmas. Holidays must be indicated without religious connotations, but in a generic way. Hence the protest of the Italian right, because in the document it says that it is better to say “holidays are stressful“, as compared to “Christmas is stressful“. For the simple fact that Christmas is a holiday (more or less) for everyone, but not a religious holiday for everyone. We recommend”do not use proper names typical of a specific religion” and of “avoid assuming that everyone is a Christian“. And here the example of the names, John and Mary, would also be cited, which in any case can be traced back to the Christian religion. We ask not to use them for examples, certainly not to abolish them obviously.
The recommendations of the European Commission, however, do not end there: “Do not use nouns or pronouns that are related to the gender of the subject; maintain a balance between genders in the organization of each panel; if using audiovisual content or testimonials, make sure diversity is represented in every aspect; do not address the audience with the words ‘ladies’ or ‘gentleman’ but use a generic ‘dear colleagues’; when it comes to transsexuals, identify them according to their indication; do not use the word ‘the elderly’ but ‘older people’; talk about people with disabilities with priority reference to the person“. In short, they are all-round indications for developing a more inclusive language, at least from an institutional point of view. No abolition of traditions, but respect for everyone’s.
After the controversy aroused by the dissemination of the document, the European Commission itself intervened: “We do not prohibit or discourage the use of the word Christmas, of course – sources of the EU executive explained to Ansa – Celebrating Christmas and using Christian names and symbols are part of Europe’s rich heritage. As a Commission, we are neutral on religious issues, we have constant dialogue with all religious and non-denominational organizations“. As for the new guidelines, it is clarified:”It is an internal document prepared at a technical level with the aim of raising awareness of inclusive communication“.