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National interest in Brussels

It is always interesting in Brussels when national tensions come bubbling to the surface. The narrow defeat of the EU’s takeover directive-which was meant to establish a single European code for company mergers-has led to a bout of German-bashing. The German government, alone among the EU-15, opposed the directive; and the fact that German MEPs voted almost en bloc against it in the parliament secured the necessary votes to ditch 12 years’ work.

At a hastily-called press conference afterwards, Frits Bolkestein, the EU’s internal market commissioner, talked bitterly about pressure from corporate Germany. As he was…

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