The City watchdog has been accused of "serious misjudgment" in its failure to step in and block Royal Bank of Scotland's disastrous takeover of Dutch rival ABM Amro.
A report by MPs on the Treasury Select Committee slammed the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for the part it played in the failure of RBS, which saw the taxpayer stump up £45.5 billion to prevent it from collapse.
The committee said the FSA's biggest fault was not intervening to stop the "calamitous" near-£50 billion ABN takeover and is urging the Government to legislate to ensure the regulator is explicitly required to approve major bank acquisitions to prevent a repeat of the fateful deal.
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The decision by the EU27 to progress to trade talks is expected to be little more than a formality.
The brisk northerly wind will make it feel rather cold.