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Brussels - Wales has sunk into the Irish Sea on a map published by European Union statisticians to illustrate their official yearbook.
"Obviously we're embarrassed and we're sorry," said Tim Allen, a press officer for Luxembourg-based Eurostat.
Eurostat's Statistical Compendium 2004, which bills itself as "the statistical guide to Europe," was published last Friday and has a map on its front cover showing EU member states.
But while it accurately shows the rest of Britain, Wales - which along with England, Scotland and Northern Ireland makes up the United Kingdom - has somehow disappeared and been replaced by an enlarged Irish Sea.
Allen blamed the blunder on the external graphic design studio that was commissioned to design the book.
"I'm surprised they even managed to find a map of Europe that doesn't include Wales," he said.
But Eurostat had no plans to recall the book, a total of 8 650 copies of which have been published in English, German and French, because that would "be a waste of public money."
"It's entirely possible that an apology slip will be inserted in the remaining copies to go out," he added.
The design of the book is changed each year, so in 2005 Wales will be resurrected, he promised.