The Vice President of the European Commission, Guenter Verheugen, is at pains to explain that an EU regulation concerning the safety of tractor-seats cannot be blamed on the EU.
The tractor-seat nonsense was in fact initiated by the German government, he says. The German government, it seems, was inveigled by a tractor-seat maker from Bayern into proposing the measure, so as to give him (the tractor-seat maker, not Verhuegen) a competitive advantage.
The EU Commission then took the tractor-maker's rule and simply got all the other governments to roll it out across Europe - presumably to do the tractor-seat making chap a favour. It seems a decidedly rum way of drafting Euro-wide regulations, and one supposes the tractor-seat making guy had some influential friends. Anyway, good to see VP Verheugen putting the record straight.
But then the VP says that this means people should not laugh about him and the whole tractor-seat situation in beer tents. The blog is completely mystified by all this (which can be read in today's Rheinische Post) but wants to pass it on all the same. It might mean something to somebody. In the meantime, the blog is heading off to the beer-tent for a jolly good laugh at VP Verheugen's expense. What a prize booby that fellow is, and how entirely deserving of beer-drinkers' mockery!