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From what I have read the decision on Article 16 was not included in earlier drafts of the regulation circulated to other Commissioners, and the regulation was formally adopted within an hour of the final version of it being circulated and before others had had a chance to sound the alarm.
It was seen by the trade directorate (the lead agency) as an entirely technical matter to close a potential loophole and those working on it didn't appreciate the political implications.
Of course Von Der Leyen, as Commission President, has to take overall responsibility for all acts of the Commission and it never looks good if someone working on her behalf tries to push the responsibility elsewhere.
But to claim she was personally involved in making that decision is not something I have seen in evidence, and I have no problem with people who make a mistake and then act quickly to correct it. If only all our political leaders did so.
To try an big this up as some sort of major flaw in the Commission President is playing into the agenda of Brexiteers who couldn't give a fig for the concerns of Unionists - the only people it offended - and are just looking for a stick to beat the EU with.
I have no particular view on Von Der Leyen's competence in general, but as I said in my letter I think the Commission has major structural issues it needs to address if it is to have an ongoing role in pharmaceutical procurement or emergency response management.
Frankly I think the sort of personality politics played by Brexiteers and the UK Tabloid press is a distraction from more important issues, and I don't think we should be buying into it.
Index of Frank's Diaries
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