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from Global News Journal:

EU gets new Commission, but little to cheer yet

There was more a sense of relief than joy when the European Union finally got its new executive on Tuesday. These are difficult times for the EU and there is little to celebrate.

The new European Commission is taking office in a tough economic climate, with the 16-country euro zone facing its hardest test since the single currency came into being 11 years ago.

The EU's image has taken a battering in the past few months, first as the 27-country bloc struggled to secure the approval of the Czech Republic to complete ratification of the Lisbon treaty, a charter intended to reform its institutions and make decision-making easier, and then after it chose two low-key leaders as its first full-time president and foreign policy chief.

U.S. President Barack Obama caused EU leaders further embarrassment by deciding not to attend an EU-US summit in Madrid in May, and the EU failed to force through its more radical ideas at the Copenhagen climate talks in December. An additional problem is media criticism of foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who has been under fire over the EU's perceived slow response to the Haiti earthquake.

from Global News Journal:

Germany’s Finance Minister takes aim at the City

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Has German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck finally said what many world leaders think but are afraid to say? That the British government won't sign up to meaningful reform of financial markets because it is too worried about what it would mean for the country’s most famous cash cow, the City of London.

 

The City, which accounts for around 35 percent of global foreign exchange turnover, has been a popular target for critics of capitalism for years. But it has rarely been singled out so bluntly as a problem by one of Britain’s close allies.

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