Anyone wanting to learn what Brussels means by better regulation should look at its developing policy on nutrition and obesity.
Rather than hand down directives, the Commission’s health directorate (Sanco) in 2005 corralled food companies, lobbyists, scientists and campaigners into a discussion group and encouraged industry to make voluntary commitments to improve products, reduce advertising to children and so on.
Robert Madelin, the oracle of Sanco and architect of the approach, has just spoken again. Rare among Commission director-generals, Mr Madelin, schooled in the UK and France, is comfortable talking to the media and happy to be seen working with businesses.
When his political boss, Markos Kyprianou, invited companies to present their commitments on cutting fat and salt in products in the Commission’s press room, the journalist’s lobby group wrote to complain about misuse of “neutral” ground.