European Parliament debates the word “Christmas”

Debates over Christian identity and the use of words like Christmas preoccupied the European Parliament plenary for more than an hour on Wednesday 15 December.

The Strasbourg debate followed abandoned internal guidelines on how best to communicate inclusiveness by European Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli.

“This is a bogus debate,” said center-left Spanish MEP Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar.

“This [the guidelines] is not even an official document. It is not a legitimate file. It is not even an official communication from the Commission “, he stressed.

Another MP noted that the debate had shifted another on poverty, energy and inflation.

“We are facing considerable challenges and you decide to make a mountain out of a molehill,” said Swedish Green MP Alice Kuhnke.

“You should talk about the climate crisis, about how we are going to save our planet,” she said, highlighting other issues such as women’s rights, inequalities and poverty.

“Your religions are not in danger and your festive festivities will not be canceled,” said left-wing Spanish MEP Sira Rego.

Weber affirms his faith

But Manfred Weber, the leader of the center-right PPE group, still demanded that the identity debate take place.

He claimed that topics like Christmas could no longer be discussed openly, while professing his own Catholic beliefs.

“I believe that God guides us and guides us throughout life and that after death there is life after death and something else,” he said.

He highlighted churches in European cities, as well as culinary traditions, dance and music as part of his Christian roots.

Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, also spoke.

He said Dalli’s directives had been withdrawn.

“It did not meet the intended target. It also did not meet all the quality standards ordered,” he said.

“Europe must be a place where respect for others flourishes, where tolerance reigns supreme”, he declared.

Dacian Cioloș, the former leader of the liberal group Renew Europe, described Christianity as part of a common cultural heritage.

“I don’t need the commission to tell me what to say like, Merry Christmas or what to say around Christmas,” he said.

The far right rose up against what it described as a “progressive countercultural regime,” compared the commission to totalitarianism in the past, and lambasted Islam.

Jorge Buxade Villalba, a Spanish MEP from the Vox party, also appeared to make anti-Semitic remarks, claiming that Jesus was “also persecuted by terrorists”.

“The day has now arrived, it’s the end of Christmas. We will have to save it,” said François-Xavier Bellamy, French center-right MEP.


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