PARI — Scolding France like a wayward child, Europe’s top human rights body says French laws aren’t clear enough that spanking is a big no-no.

The 47-member Council of Europe said Wednesday that France is violating the European social charter because French law doesn’t prohibit parents and others from corporal punishment of children in a “sufficiently clear, binding and precise manner.”

France all but shrugged off the slap-down, with officials saying they wouldn’t do anything in response. But the move wades into a thorny, ongoing cultural debate in a country where child-rearing techniques have drawn praise in bestselling books and where “la fessée” – spanking – is often seen as a traditional form of discipline.

Wednesday’s decision comes in response to a 2013 complaint from the Association for the Protection of All Children against France and six other countries: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Italy, Ireland, Slovenia and Cyprus.