EU Attempt to ban refillable Olive-Oil Containers and Brussels bureaucrats

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Bureaucrats here turned the European Union into an object of ridicule last year by nearly banning refillable olive-oil containers in restaurants across the 28-nation bloc.

The proposal, an attempt to protect consumers against the evils of fake olive oil, emerged with little public debate and was quickly shelved when the media actually noticed it and politicians across much of Europe howled in outrage.

It is just one illustration of how Brussels is to a large extent run by bureaucrats. At the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, they wield significant power to shape policy and often clash with the politically appointed commissioners who are nominally in charge of the institution. As with “olive oil-gate,” regulations are sometimes approved with little political scrutiny.

Now change may be on the horizon. Jean-Claude Juncker, who takes over Saturday as president of the commission, has promised to make it more “political,” creating as he does an institution with the focus and clout to set Europe’s agenda, along with Germany and France, rather than take orders from them.

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