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Overbearing. Arrogant. Difficult. Britons in Brussels are used to having their compatriots trashed by Eurocrats fulminating over the latest betrayal from perfidious Albion. Yet this time it’s not the Brits who are being bad-mouthed, but the Germans—whose new mood of bossiness is putting backs up all over town. Meanwhile, a very senior official in the European commission recently described Chancellor George Osborne to me as “highly intelligent and extremely constructive.” Ask around about David Cameron’s government and the adjectives used to describe it are invariably “helpful,” “constructive” or “professional.”

What’s going on? It seems that, less than a year into…

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