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5 But as time went on, and with new officials joining the Commission, including those from new Member States, it modified its attitude. This was notably the case as regards standards for traded goods, including foodstuffs: such standards are clearly desirable to ensure fair competition and to help consumers to know what they are buying, but the Commission did become more discerning in deciding which standards were necessary and those which were not. The CAP at this time was giving relatively little benefit to Italy; in fact, political instability had prevented Italy from playing a significant role in the establishment of the policy and its subsequent development.

At an early stage, the Commission started sending proposals entitled “agro-monetary” regulations. “Not so”, I said. “Agro” is a Greek root, fine in “agronomy”, since nomos is Greek; but “monetary” comes from the Latin moneta (as does “culture”, in “agriculture”), and requires the prefix “agri”. And so it was from then on. This linguistic matter calls to mind a little-known feature of the Council Secretariat’s work: its “jurist-linguist” group. After the Council (in whatever formation) has agreed on a Commission proposal, this bunch of remarkably gifted people set to work to produce in all the official languages the texts which will be regarded as equally authentic and published in the Official Journal.

After some hesitation in Moscow, Soviet tanks were sent in; there was fierce fighting in the streets of Budapest; some 20,000 citizens were killed. The international community reacted feebly. Britain and France were absorbed with their fruitless invasion of Suez; American media seemed at one stage to encourage the revolt, but no help was forthcoming. As the repression continued, many Hungarians fled into Austria, some into Yugoslavia. The Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) slowly moved into action.

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