The reality is that the EU is losing the benefit of the doubt. Hard pressed for decisions, American and world leaders – including some within the EU -- just can't keep waiting for all 27 countries to agree. The root of the problem is obvious: national governments have not – and will not -- cede fiscal or foreign policy decisions to regional institutions. And that reality makes the EU a lame duck.
The May meeting was to be the first summit under the Lisbon Treaty, a brand new constitution that overhauled power structures precisely to give the EU a more executive voice. It created a president and foreign policy chief post.
But it was this transition that reportedly prompted Obama's change of heart. Spain and the new EU's president – the little known former Belgian Prime Minister Harman Van Rompuy -- have been bickering over who should play the host role, who should shake hands with Obama first, who should sit on his right side. Obama, who met EU leaders twice last year, opted against another photo-op, especially with a myriad of internal and global pressing issues at hand. Or to put it bluntly, the EU is simply not delivering change. Europe is about "maybe we can," which is just insufficient nowadays.
Euro zone members Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland have huge public deficits that approach their gross domestic products, and in some cases, surpass it. But the recent global equity market stampede was triggered not by the minute economy of Greece, but by concerns that the EU will be unable to agree on measures to stave off a complete euro zone meltdown.
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