Dragging us down
The change is being pushed through as a "health and safety" measure, allowing Brussels to circumvent the British veto.
Government sources said they remained confident of securing enough support from other countries to block the measure when it goes before EU employment ministers early next month.
But it presents Mr Blair with an embarrassing wrangle over who runs Britain's employment policy at the start of his third term in power.
Removal of the opt-out would oblige firms and employees to keep time sheets listing how long they worked, including hours spent working at home. Only top executives would be exempt.
A wide range of staff with "decision-making" roles - originally exempt - would be subject to the 48-hour limit. Records would have to be available for instant inspection at any time.
All "on-call" time for doctors, nurses, firemen, security staff and others at their places of work would be treated as ordinary work time, even if they were asleep.
No need to rehearse the arguments - I think we all know them!
Ceterum censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam