It seems it could be a gloomy Christmas for many children at the close of the year, following a suggestion by the European Union that Saint Nicks' annual present giveaway may come under legal scrutiny.
At a press conference in Brussels earlier this week, Patric Vandroogenbroeck unveiled plans that could see Santa's operation brought to a standstill.
'Following a recent meeting of national delegates, a number of elements of Mr Claus's business practice have been identified as acting in direct contravention of a number of European Union regulations and are therefore subject to an investigation, in the interest of the public. Whilst we are aware that many children benefit directly from the work of Mr Claus and his team, we believe that the work carried out on the evening of Christmas Eve breaks a number of sections of the Working Time Regulations, and whilst we have no evidence to support this presently, we also believe that the staff working below Mr Claus could be performing their jobs in substandard conditions for long hours and for rates of pay below the minimum wage. The whole operation is basically illegal'.
It seems that this issue has snowballed across the Western nations. The British Police Force are launching a separate investigation into the traditional yuletide activities, as police spokesman Julian Bravo explains: 'we have received a number of reports that Santa Claus has been traveling above the designated speed restrictions on British land, and despite the fact that our children enjoy the service he provides, safety is paramount, and nobody is above the law'. Senior police representatives have suggested that the speeding fines may be backdated and research is currently being undertaken to establish how many years Santa has been speeding for. Analysts believe that the cumulative penalties could run into quadrillions of pounds, although Mr Bravo was keen to point out that 'penalties are merely a deterrent and we don't wish to profit from the revenues gained in this manner'.
The ripples of discontent appear to have developed into waves across the pond, with the U.S. Government launching their own investigation into the problem. When quizzed about this bizarre investigation, President Bush was quick to defend his country's decision: 'Me and my fellow Americans will not be hoodwinked by our enemies. They may be cunning and sly, but we are strong and united. We have received firm evidence of a link between Santa Claus and International Terrorists, who may be using his yearly trip as a method of spreading evil and hate'. When queried as to whether Santa Claus not actually existing would present a problem for the investigation, Bush responded: 'This is not a question of whether he exists or not. This is a question of home security, of global security, and of ensuring a future of peace and prosperity for all Americans. Whilst there are still evil-doers in our midst, the war against terror continues. No-one can break our resolve, not even Santa'.
Santa Claus was unavailable for comment.