The EU does not need to reprint over three million school diaries that failed to mention Christmas or Easter, an ombudsman has ruled.
Although the diaries include Hindu, Sikh and Muslim holidays, the Ombudsman says a separate sheet correcting the omission of Christian holidays is ‘sufficient’.
It means 330,000 copies sent to UK schools will fail to record Christmas or Easter, but will include “Europe Day” on 9 May.
Earlier this year a Commission official admitted the omission was a “blunder”.
He indicated that, in the interests of political correctness, future editions would contain no references to any religious festivals.
On Monday, the EU Ombudsman said that reprinting the diaries to include reference to Christmas and Easter would be “disproportionate”.
A formal complaint by an Irish priest about the omission prompted an inquiry by the EU Ombudsman into the 2010/2011 edition of the “Europa Diary”, issued to secondary schools every year by Brussels.
When the error originally came to light, a spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community said the omission was “just astonishing.”
“Christmas and Easter are important feasts for hundreds of millions of Christians and Europeans”, said Johanna Touzel.
“If the Commission does not mark Christmas as a feast in its diaries then it should be working as normal on December 25,” she said.
The Ombudsman, P Nikiforos Diamandouros, dismissed calls for the entire run to be recalled, saying the Commission’s apology for the “regrettable” error, coupled with a one-page correction sent out to all schools showing the main public holidays in every EU member state, was sufficient.
An inquiry report published on Monday said: “In the Ombudsman’s view, the actions which the Commission took to rectify the error were reasonable.
“He further considered that it would be disproportionate to reprint the 2010/2011 edition. Accordingly, the Ombudsman closed the case without further inquiries.”
The only text for Christmas Day in this year’s diary runs: “A true friend is someone who shares your concerns and doubles your joy.”
The omission of the Christian festivals in the diary had angered many church leaders and politicians, who had already complained about the Commission’s Christmas card for 2010.
The card bore no reference to Christ’s birth but instead bore the words “Season’s Greetings.”