“Back in the Moscow Embassy in 1994 or thereabouts a bizarre telegram arrived from London. The EU had to negotiate aluminium trade quotas with the new Russia and the EU team was coming to Moscow to do so. But, unusually, the EU aluminium boffins in Brussels had failed to agree a starting-position for our side of the negotiations. So under an obscure provision of the Treaty it was up to those EU member states Embassies represented in Moscow to do so for them! Get on with it. In vain our remonstrations that we knew nothing at all about aluminium, let alone trade quotas therefor.” (Emphasis mine)
And thus are trade agreements (and, no doubt, treaties) signed – and careers (both diplomatic and political) made.