The EU is going to ban curved bananas (Reported passim since 1994).
There are international grading standards for bananas, cucumbers, rhubarb, etc, and these do refer to size and abnormality of shape, but no grade is banned or even restricted from sale by law. The current EU standards are identical to the pre-existing UN, OECD and British ones.
Fishermen will have to wear hairnets (Reported passim since 1992).
The story about fishermen wearing hairnets was an outright invention by members of the British press corps in Brussels, who cooked it up in a bar and filed it as a joke. Similarly, a story about EU rules saying that Bombay Mix had to be re-named Mumbai Mix was invented as a joke by a press agency. Both sources were surprised to find their stories run as true by the UK press.
Circus tightrope walkers will have to wear hard hats (reported in The , the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, 23rd July 2003).
The Working at Height Directive does require member states to implement safety rules, but applies only to industrial or construction contexts and not to circus performers. No restrictions are imposed by regulation, EU or otherwise.
The EU spends over a billion euros a year on translation.
It is often implied that the Commission can legislate without consulting the governments of member states. In reality, all EU legislation passes through a legislative process involving both the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (composed of national ministers).
If legislation is to be adopted it must be accepted by the Parliament in most cases and by the Council in all cases.
British women are the heaviest in the EU. British men came second to Malta.
France has 36,782 mayors - more than 40% of all the mayors in the 27 countries of the EU.
Britain is no longer classified as an island.
The origin of this was when an EU study examining the problems of island communities made it clear that its terms of reference did not include Britain).
Kilts are defined as women's wear.
A study of clothing sales by the UK Office of National Statistics, not the EU, made the oversight of not leaving a space for kilts on the form in the menswear section - there has not been any sort of comment by the EU on this subject.
Pigs have to be given toys.
There is absolutely no mention of toys in the EU's pig welfare regulations.
Sausages are going to be re-named ‘emulsified high-fat offal tubes’.
This one is from Yes, Minister.
Only 8 - 14% of British laws are made in the EU.
There are 12 stars on the EU flag but when the flag was adopted in 1955 the Council of Europe already had 15 members, and the EU now has 28. It was never the intention that the stars should correspond to the number of member states as they do on the US flag. On the contrary, 12 was chosen for its very lack of political connotations combined with its general ubiquity in European culture: 12 points on the clock face, months of the year, symbols in the Zodiac, apostles, Caesars and Olympian gods.
The 13 stripes on the US flag refer to the 13 colonies which founded the Union. The starry section on its own was flown on US warships until 2002, and in that capacity is still called the ‘Union Jack’ in America.
To enter Europe, you must have a valid passport with a photograph of yourself in which you look like you are being booked on charges of soliciting sheep.
The EU has 23 official languages and 506 possible language interpretation combinations.