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from Global News Journal:
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, firstÂ as the 27-country bloc struggled to secure the approval of the Czech Republic to complete ratification of the Lisbon treaty, a charterÂ 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.