The European Union is to make French cheek kissing the compulsory greeting throughout the EU. 'British' handshakes will be banned.
The move - under EU Directive 109 (S 45a) ‘En embrassant sur les joues’ - has already sparked outrage, with the Daily Mail urging its readers to oppose the ruling and sport a Daily Mail 'No Kissing, I'm British' badge.
But a EU spokeswoman told a Brussels press conference that the present situation led to confusion and embarrassment with people getting into a tangle when a British person tried to shake hands with another EU member who wanted to kiss.
'This is a necessary rationalisation and not a step to a European Super State,' the spokesperson said.
'This is another step to a European Super State,' claimed UKIP's leader Lord Pearson. 'I'm not kissing another man even if it was in the interests of international harmony and world peace.'
But a survey of the attitude of British women found that the majority like the idea. 'I can't see anything wrong with me being kissed by Frenchmen,' said Mildred Baines (82). 'Most seem quite romantic. Bring it on.'
People meeting the Queen or Andrew Lloyd Webber will be allowed to shake their hand.