Peter Mandelson has finally broken off his jaunt in Italy to help sort out the European retailing crisis he has caused in the matter of clothes imported from China.
Mandelson erected the EU's protectionist barrier to hinder cheap Chinese imports and to protect textile producers in France and Italy. Despite strong protests from Holland and Denmark, warning that a crisis would result, Commissioner Mandelson rushed through his ill-thought-out legislation.
The result is what has been described as "the worst retailing crisis since WWII". Countless orders placed by retailers before the new restrictions came into force, and already paid for, have been held up at customs for the past weeks.
Mandelson is now in China with his EU team, hoping to sort out the mess. "I hope member states will cooperate and won't prevent the speedy passage of those procedures," he said, placing the blame for his legislation squarely on the nations involved.
Whilst everyone will wish Mandy well, we must ask whether it is wise for the EU Commission to employ such men. Mandelson was a laughing stock in the UK long before his EU appointment, having twice been sacked from the British cabinet by his dear friend Tony Blair after unsavoury financial scandals.
People like Mandelson often end up being "promoted" to Brussels. It is wrongly believed they can cause less harm there. This time it is the turn of European retailers to pay the price.
Guardian Unlimited The Guardian Mandelson plan to end Chinese trade row