Linking to Captain Ed, because he runs a good blog.www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/006721.php
The Irish custom that sees corpses kept in an open coffin so the deceased can be viewed during the wake has been endangered by an edict issued by Stavros Dimas, the EU environment commissioner.
He wants chemicals used by embalmers to preserve the cadaver withdrawn under a new biocides directive.
Such a move would see the end of the age-old ritual of "laying out" the body while games are played and food and drink are consumed to the accompaniment of dancing and fiddle music....
The directive, which would come into effect in September, aims to withdraw embalming ingredients such as formaldehyde, which are capable of destroying living organisms.
Excuse me, but isn't the entire purpose of embalming to destroy living organisms? The preservative nature of embalming relies on the destruction of the bacteria that create decomposition, and formaldehyde does that effectively. Formaldehyde is also used to preserve lab specimens for research and the development of medicines and therapies. Does the EU propose to end formaldehyde for these purposes as well?
Most striking is the nature of the regulation -- an "edict" from a bureaucrat. The EU apparently does not have much concern about regulation through its legislature. That isn't such a stretch from the American agency model, but in this case it seems almost dictatorial. At least one member state will have an issue with this, and one suspects that other predominantly Catholic countries may have the same reservations as Ireland; the rosary is a tradition in most Catholic cultures, and it also involves extended viewing of the deceased. Will the EP take this matter into consideration or allow one bureaucrat to dictate funeral policy to an entire continent?
Ed's right. Note that there's no vote, no debate. No bill is proposed, then debated, then voted on by elected representatives. No real commentary from the people except "we might be able to get around this for cultural reasons". Some guy who works at EU decides he wants to ban something and, wow!, it's banned.
Interesting new "government" they're working with over there.