|November 23, 2012
The European Union may have won the Nobel Peace Prize this year, but to many EU leaders, officials, diplomats and even journalists, it can feel more like a torture chamber.
Increasingly, Europe is governed at night by leaders in an advanced state of exhaustion, disregarding scientific evidence that this can lead to bad decisions, or non-decisions.
Over the past three years, the EU has held 25 summits to try to tackle its debt crisis and related economic turmoil, with few of those meetings ending before 3 or 4 a.m. -- usually after 12 hours or more of near-fruitless negotiation.
Add to that more than 40 finance ministers' meetings -- the most recent of which ended at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, again without agreement -- and it is easy to see how a set of institutions designed to foster peace and stability in Europe can end up delivering frustration, angst and head-numbing pain.
"I'll put it this way: I woke up at 5 a.m. or 5.30 a.m. yesterday and we ended in the morning around 4 a.m.," Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico complained after the last, largely unsuccessful summit in October.Read More...