A public attack on Baroness Ashton of Upholland that first appeared in the French press and was partly fuelled by her decision not to travel to Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake has sharpened in recent weeks. Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos is among those believed to have joined the growing ranks of European officials to take aim at the newcomer.Brussels officials claim this is 'severely undermining her credibility'.
Did she ever have any..?
The initial goodwill towards the 53-year-old appears to be ebbing amid her continuing lack of confidence during foreign policy briefings and ministerial meetings, when she is regularly eclipsed by her more seasoned colleagues. Spain's Mr Moratinos – whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency – has reportedly been venting his frustration during visits to Brussels when he has compared her negatively to Javier Solana, the political veteran who held the post of High Representative for a decade. Senior officials within her team complain that she "sticks to generalities".Well, what's a modern gal to do when the big, rough boys start tweaking her pigtails and putting frogs on her chair?
Ashton's aides say she is still relatively sanguine, but has been angered over what she perceives as "latent sexism" from some of her European peers.Oh, Hattie will be so proud...