Wales has been missed off a map used by European Union statisticians to illustrate the front cover of their official annual yearbook.
The map of Europe shows England and Scotland in the correct position but between the Welsh border and Ireland there is nothing but the Irish Sea.
The Eurostat Yearbook 2004 is billed as the EU organisation's "statistical compendium... presenting the diversity of Eurostat's data" and costs 50 euros or £34.38.
A spokesperson for Eurostat admitted that Wales had been omitted from the map used in the cover illustration and but could not say how the error had occurred.
He said: "We don't know why, we are still trying to find out what happened. I am perplexed myself, I'd find it very difficult to find a map of Europe that missed off Wales.
"It is just a design fault."
He added that the proof-reading process was being examined to see how the mistake could have slipped through.
"The map is not very distinct. It is a drop background in a light colour under the title text."
He assured Welsh people that they had not been forgotten and that data gathered in the principality would feature prominently in Eurostat's regional yearbook published this week.
He could not confirm if the book would be reprinted with a corrected map but said it was "quite possible".
Glenys Kinnock, Labour MEP for Wales, told the BBC that the mistake was "shocking".
But she said: "The reality is that Wales is on all the maps that matter. We are certainly not a part of Europe that gets forgotten.
"Maybe with computerised drawing this can happen and someone who isn't aware of this glorious country may not have known it existed but I can assure you that they will not forget us again."
She said the mistake would be "quite embarrassing" for Eurostat but assured Welsh residents that the error did not reflect the level of funding Wales receives from the EU.
"It was just a slip-up that somebody will be held responsible for and it won't happen again."
Eurostat spokesman Tim Allen said they were looking into the mistake.
"All I can tell you is this certainly wasn't deliberate."
He went on: "The map didn't come from us. The current yearbook was laid out by contractors working for the EU's Publications Office and we have no idea where they took their illustration from.
"Quite frankly I don't know how you go about finding a map of Europe without Wales on it.
"We have requested an explanation about why and how this happened."
No-one in the Eurostat office spotted the error when the yearbook came back from the printers.
But squinting at it today, Mr Allen agreed that, although the map imagery looked "impressionistic", there was no evidence that the details had been squeezed or modified for artistic purposes.
Such deeds have happened in the past in Euroland in efforts to fit artwork of the EU landmass on to documents and coins.
But Mr Allen was adamant - there was no deliberate or reckless attempt to streamline the UK on aesthetic or practical grounds at the expense of Wales.
He pointed out that bits of Scandinavia look a bit blunted on the map.
"I don't think there are any fjords, for instance, and some of the Mediterranean islands are probably missing, although I must admit the whole of Ireland is there."
Today, in the wake of the "Where's Wales?" crisis, Eurostat staff have been checking other documents.
"We've got a yearbook of regional statistics coming out later this week. It's full of maps of the regions and I can tell you that Wales is definitely included." said Mr Allen.
Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan laughed off the incident at a press briefing today.
"I haven't actually seen the offending document, I believe it's some sort of computer-generated image that has clearly gone wrong," he told reporters.
"Are we somehow going to refuse to accept Objective One money from Europe because of this terrible slight on Wales? I don't think we're actually going to do that.
"It's the way we use European money that's important. We've made a great success of that."