The new commission president has proposed a compatriot as Commissioner for Taxation. "Italian" does not connote "rectitude in taxation" to most Europeans. That Prodi could suggest such a thing already shows the depths to which European government has sunk.
The issue is not yet lost; we have simply to insist on the unacceptability of this suggestion. It may be Prodi's method to suggest the outrageous in order to have something to concede.
But how unwise of Mr Blair to risk compromising his position at this particular moment!