[inline:02]A dirndl is a traditional costume worn by women in Bavaria and Austria. It is characterised by a generally rather revealing décolleté and consists of a dress and apron with a tight, low-cut top whose figure enhancing effect is accentuated by a short white blouse. Bavarian barmaids typically dress in dirndls. However, under the European Union’s Optical Radiation Directive, which is to be voted in the European Parliament next month, employers face heavy fines if they fail to protect their employees against the risk of sunburn.
When it dawned on the Bavarians earlier this week that the directive would entail that their dirndl-dressed barmaids cover up their bosoms when serving drinks outside, there were fierce protests against the EU. “This is European law-making at its most pedantic,” said Munich’s lord mayor, Christian Ude. The organisers of the world’s biggest beer festival, the Munich Oktoberfest, called the proposed ban “an attack on the traditions of [their] region.” The spokesman of the Bavarian Hotel and Restaurant Union said “the dirndl is a part of Bavarian culture and enjoyment of life. I have consulted many waitresses and none of them have told me that sunburn in the décolleté area has ever been a problem.”
[inline:01]Paul-Joachim Kubosch, the Bavarian EU representative in Brussels, declared yesterday that Bavarians need not worry. In his opinion the EU directive will not ban revealing bosoms because it is only aimed at “hazardous professions” where employees are exposed to sunburn. “The waitresses in the Munich biergardens do not belong to this category,” he said. Construction workers, however, do.
Earlier, Britian opted out of signing the Optical Radiation Directive because it feared that the directive would outlaw bare-chested British builders. According to London it is up to employees and employers to use their common sense to guard against the sun. Germany, however, did not opt out. Kubosch’s explanation has alarmed Bavarian construction workers. Heinrich Traublinger, the president of the federation of Upper-Bavarian construction companies, called the proposed directive, “a new proof that the Brussels bureaucrats are totally out of touch with reality.” “Such a stupid idea can only originate in rain-drenched Brussels,” he said. Traiblinger has written an urgent letter to the Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber asking him to try to stop the “ridiculous directive.”