Attempts by EU industry commissioner Gunther Verheugen to 'slash and burn' unecessary Brussels regulations came to a soggy end today, after Belgian firefighters were called in to dowse a smouldering pile of red tape at the EU executive's headquarters.

The German commissioner's campaign against bureaucracy has been frustrated at every turn by recalcitrant senior officials in his command (as BM previously reported here).

But senior eurocrats had apparently been unaware that when Verheugen promised a 'bonfire of the regulations' four years ago, he would eventually resort to actual pyromania.

Two framework directives on low frequency spectrum management and a number of Combined Nomenclature customs codes definitions are understood to have been lost to the fire.

Further legislative texts may have incurred water damage during the brief, and frankly undramatic fire fight.

The illegally-logged Indonesian timber lining the Brussels HQ's lavish corridors, however, is said to have survived in tact.

Berlaymonster, too, is alive and well, but will be filing for personal injury benefit for a bit-of-a-cough picked up during the evacuation.

However, with officials taking the rest of the day off, and Thursday and Friday being holidays for EU staff this week, expect most of us not to show our sooty faces again until next week.

Enjoy the long weekend.

Barbecue round BM's place anyone?






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