current president of the European
Union, has issued a postage stamp which appears to confuse new
EU-member Cyprus with the Greek holiday island of Crete.
The stamp shows a map of the enlarged EU with the old member
states colored blue and the new states in yellow.
Cyprus is positioned just south of Greece and looks suspiciously
like Crete in shape. It is longer and thinner than the real Cyprus
and has a rectangular bump
on the bottom of it, just like the Greek island.
"The shape is closer to that of Crete than Cyprus although,
to be fair, the designer does seem to have taken some artistic
license with the other countries
too," said Peter Geoffrey, a Dublin philatelist.
"I suppose it might be a little insulting if you were from
either Crete or Cyprus."
The Irish Post Office insisted on
May 6 there had been no mistake but conceded the designers had
to move Cyprus from its position in the eastern Mediterranean
to fit it on the stamp.
"There is no way they could have left Cyprus where it was,"
a spokeswoman said. "It's quite a crowded stamp as it is.
"This is not meant
to be a "to-scale" map of the EU," she added.
"It's like an image taken through a photographer's fish-eye
lens. I know some people are saying it looks like Crete
but it's not. It is quite definitely Cyprus."