It is not easy building a brand new European diplomatic corps. First, there is all the squabbling between the European Union’s old and new member states and rival institutions about how to divvy up the jobs. If that were not enough, there is the dawning age of austerity, which means that European leaders like David Cameron, the UK prime minister, are increasingly demanding that the job be done on the cheap.
For Lady Ashton, Europe’s first foreign policy chief, and the architect of its new external action service, there may be no easy solution to the first challenge. Some worthy constituent – be it Poland or the European Parliament – will surely feel slighted by her appointments. (In fact, they already do).