New proposals for a Blue Card system - designed to attract the most highly skilled workers to Europe – are sparking heated debate across Europe. Traditionally a politically sensitive topic for Member States, the EU institutions are preparing for a long and delicate journey towards adoption in the Council.

The central dispute, initial reports confirm, is the exact shade of blue which will be used for the system.

Despite a high likelihood of opting out, the UK is adamant that only a “nice Bristol blue, almost iridescent in nature” will convey the attractiveness of the scheme to those with tertiary education. Germany, ever cautious towards the harmonisation process, is partial to a dark navy. Immigration officials from both sides are working to a rapprochement, probably indigo.

To the south, Mediterranean countries have once more formed a regional bloc, and are lobbying for a metallic aquamarine “in commemoration of all those migrants who tragically perished attempting to reach the shores of Europe”. Northern states have variously condemned this proposal as “sick,” “ghoulish”, and “tacky, we’re not a strip club you know”.

Suggestions from the smaller Member States include Chimay, Delft, and the colour of the curtains in the Ministry for Education. Meanwhile, a number of others – notably France, Romania, and Estonia - are promoting their national flags.

While the Commission remains convinced that the solution lies within the EU’s own flag (with possible incorporation of a shiny gold star), technical officials have noted that, as usual, the Member States have missed the point of the legislative proposal.

“You know that green cards aren’t actually green, don’t you?” one asked, on condition of anonymity. “They can talk all they like, but we’re sticking with white, possibly beige.”

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