Buffeted by Ireland's rejection of the European Union treaty and assailed by protesters angry at rising food and energy costs, EU leaders will gather Thursday for a summit meeting overshadowed by recriminations over the Irish referendum and accusations that the bloc is failing to address citizens' concerns.
Protesters who converged on Brussels on Wednesday, blocking main roads in the city center, highlighted the divergent views within the 27-nation bloc over how to deal with rising food and fuel prices.
European countries are likely to clash over calls to help cushion the impact of price increases. The coincidence of the Irish vote and protests across Europe against rising commodity costs underlines a loss of confidence among parts of the electorate in the EU's ability to deal with everyday issues.
and the second is from Robert Kagen:
A mere two years ago, the British author and thinker Mark Leonard published a book titled "Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century." Today, one wonders to what degree Europe will even participate in the 21st century. It's not just the deadly blow struck by Ireland's rejection Thursday of the Lisbon Treaty reorganizing the European Union. I've spent six of the past eight years in the capital of the European Union, and I've noticed over this period a steady loss of self-confidence in Europe, a turning inward and a growing pessimism about the future.
EU: Is it worth the frustration?