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Opinion

Clips are down in EU bind

The accession of 10 new states to the EU on May 1 provided an opportunity to reflect on the success of the European project. For a continent riven by centuries of war and rivalry to build peace and prosperity is a momentous achievement.

But cultural differences die hard. For a recent interview with Euromoney, an official at the European Investment Bank put together briefing notes and presentational material from different parts of the bank. However, getting them all into one file, in the right order, proved unexpectedly difficult.

“That’s the problem with this place,” the official said. “The Germans always use staples. The southern Europeans prefer paper clips.” Surely a European paper-binding directive is the only way to tackle such a divisive issue?

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