The Menu For The EU's Xmas Lunch May As Well Have Been Written By Ukip

The EU get a bad press sometimes, and sometimes they don't deserve it.

The President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz even admitted to HuffPost UK last week that the institution has an "image problem", though he pointed out it was often the leaders of the members states who wanted to gobble the credit for EU successes and play the "blame game" when things go wrong.

But sometimes, they really do not do themselves any favours.

This is the menu for the European Parliament's Christmas lunch. And if it had been cooked up by Ukip as a propaganda exercise, it would have been rejected by their comms team as too far-fetched.

Lobster, foie gras, smoked duck breast and pheasant are all on the menu of the Brussels restaurant, which is subsidised by the taxpayer. The lunch is quite exceptionally good value, just €20 for the lot, around £16.

The foie gras has even drawn the ire of animal rights activists in perhaps an unlikely alliance with the Eurosceptics.

There isn't a turkey or a Brussel(s) sprout in sight, according to the Standard's report. The MEPs are offered a starter of coconut cream soup topped with smoked duck breast and truffle oil, followed by a choice of main course; pheasant with foie gras and truffles, lobster au gratin with lemon sabayon (a sort-of whipped mousse), or vegetable broth with quail eggs and smoked garlic.

Luxurious sides are also on the menu, piped potatoes with chestnuts and chopped dried fruits, samphire flan (that's a kind of seaweed thing), green beans, or an plate of asparagus, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. A traditionally French Bûche de Noël (Christmas chocolate log), merveilleux (a Belgian meringue cake) or a fruit salad is on offer for dessert.

Ukip, predictably, are boycotting it. Paul Nuttall MEP, Ukip’s deputy leader, told the Standard: “It sounds delicious, but it is a kick in the teeth for hard pressed families across the country that they are subsidising our pleasures.”

But the wrath of the eurosceptics is tame in comparison to PETA, who are objecting in the strongest terms about the inclusion of foie gras, the liver of duck fattened by using a force-feeding tube.

"The scientific consensus on force-feeding is crystal clear: it's cruel and should be banned," says the organisation's Ben Williamson. "The EU Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare has catalogued a long list of ways in which foie gras production is inherently abusive.

"Given the fact that ramming metal pipes down birds' throats in order to force-feed them huge amounts of grain to induce a swollen and diseased liver would be illegal in most EU countries, it's an outrage that this vile product would be served in the EU Parliament, so we are urging MEPs to refuse to dine in the Parliament restaurant until foie gras is removed from the menu."

Following a investigation into foie gras production, Dr Dennis J Alexander from the EU's Scientific Committee concluded that "the only recommendation that the Committee can properly make is that force feeding of ducks and geese should stop and that this could best be achieved by the prohibition of the production, importation, distribution and sale of foie gras". The committee did not adopt his recommendation.

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