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John Monks, Europe's top trade unionist, rises to the challenge of the services directive and keeps the east Europeans happy too. And Michel Barnier is back

By Manneken Pis   April 2006

John Monks’s hour These days it is rare for a trade unionist to find himself on the right side of a political row, let alone two of them. So John Monks, former head of Britain’s TUC and now boss of the European Trades Union Confederation (ETUC), has reason to feel pleased with himself. True, Monks is neither polyglot nor what the Italians call a rabble-rousing “piazza” politico. But his grasp of politics—learnt in the smoke-filled rooms of Congress House in Bloomsbury—did not desert him in Europe as he navigated two tricky issues. The most sensitive was the directive to deregulate…

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