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“Never read an official document” was the advice offered to Jacques Santer on his unexpected departure to Brussels as president of the European Commission. The paperwork tip came from Nicholas Elam, Britain’s ambassador in Luxembourg-not exactly a Foreign Office hardship post. Six months on, “Champagne Jacques” shows few signs of breaking the habits of a lifetime.

Stories abound of him nodding off in meetings, or drifting hopelessly as his colleagues navigate their way around Spanish fishing rights off Morocco and rum quotas in the Caribbean. General verdict: nice guy, just not up to the job.

Santer’s trade-mark is an inane…

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