Drinking News: Is there too much boozing at UN budget meetings?


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The Independent Online

We've all been at a boring work meeting that might have been enlivened by a few drinks, but should UN delegates really be getting wasted before making major decisions about international finance?

According to those puritanical Americans (harshing the world's buzz since 1776), the heavy drinking of certain-countries-who-shall-remain-nameless has begun to be a problem.

"There has always been a good and responsible tradition of a bit of alcohol improving a negotiation, but we're not talking about a delegate having a nip at the bar," said Joseph Torsella, the US ambassador for management and reform at the UN. According to Torsella, diplomats have been known to vomit from too much alcohol.

Foreign Policy magazine points out that drinking is actually a well-established negotiating technique, "a social lubricant offered up to soften an adversary's negotiating position or simply a delaying tactic to put off final decision until the final hours, when negotiators are keen to get back home for the holidays and concessions are easier to exact."

None of this will be news to any British politicians, of course. There are four individual drinking establishments in the parliamentary estate, and things have been known to get out of hand, as witnesses to Eric Joyce's unfortunate bout of fisticuffs at the Strangers' Bar last year will recall.