The funniest Euromyths, debunked

This Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which created the European Economic Community and put the continent on the path to today’s European Union. Over the years, many urban myths about meddling “Eurocrats” and their overregulation have circulated among the British populace, who see these Euromyths as outrageous examples of threats to ...

603072_070323_banana_05.jpg
603072_070323_banana_05.jpg

This Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which created the European Economic Community and put the continent on the path to today's European Union. Over the years, many urban myths about meddling "Eurocrats" and their overregulation have circulated among the British populace, who see these Euromyths as outrageous examples of threats to their way of life.

Here are three Euromyths that I found particularly funny.

Myth #1: Curved bananas are banned.

This Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which created the European Economic Community and put the continent on the path to today’s European Union. Over the years, many urban myths about meddling “Eurocrats” and their overregulation have circulated among the British populace, who see these Euromyths as outrageous examples of threats to their way of life.

Here are three Euromyths that I found particularly funny.

Myth #1: Curved bananas are banned.

Truth: Commission regulation (EC) 2257/94 states bananas must be “free from malformation or abnormal curvature.” Class 2 bananas, however, can have “defects of shape.” “Abnormal curvature” isn’t defined, although the regulation for cucumbers might provide a rule of thumb: Class 1 and “extra class” cucumbers can curve up to 10 mm per 10 cm of length. It’s not clear who, exactly, measures all this produce.

Myth #2: Barmaids must cover their cleavage. (Otherwise, they could get skin cancer.)

Truth: When this story came out in 2005, one newspaper started a “Save Our Jugs” campaign. In reality though, the EU’s draft Optical Radiation directive said employers must ensure their staff don’t suffer from overexposure to the sun. A final vote by the European Parliament removed that stipulation from the directive and limited protection to employees working with artificial sources of radiation such as infrared lamps and lasers.

Myth #3: Firemen’s poles must be removed. (One firefighter could get crushed by the next one sliding down.)

Truth: No EU health and safety legislation even mentions the poles. The UK, however, did transpose some parts of EU legislation into its 1992 Codes of Practice on health and safety at work. This action may have prompted some fire stations to remove poles.

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP
Tag: Europe

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.