You've got to love the European Union. It took the federal government decades to become so extraordinarily bureaucratic, wasteful, and out of touch. The EU has done it in record time. For instance, imagine the horror if European Commissioners had to--gasp!--stand in line for coffee! To avoid that catastrophe, the EU has spent $130,000 or so on ... coffee machines. Reports the International Herald Tribune:
The European Commission on Wednesday defended its decision to spend about €100,000 on coffee machines found to have high concentrations of heavy metals in the water they used. But the commission said more tests were needed to determine whether the espresso makers were safe. Last month, the commission, the executive arm of the European Union, removed from service 20 deluxe "superautomatic" coffee machines after a staff member sent water from the machines for testing that showed astronomical levels of nickel and elevated amounts of lead. The commission paid about €5,000 for each of the machines from the Italian company Gruppo Cimbali and it pays an additional annual maintenance fee. "The commission has to get the best value for money and that doesn't always necessarily mean we buy the cheapest products available," said Dennis Abbott, a spokesman for the commission. He said public procurement rules had been followed. The machines were suitable items for commissioners, who are the most senior EU officials, and their guests, Abbott said. "You wouldn't expect government ministers to waste their time queuing for coffee when they could be doing government work," he said.Better yet, the machines have had to be switched off because they apparently have been poisoning the commissioners, delivering dangerously high levels of lead and nickel!