I'd say with foreign policy this stupid, Baroness Ashton is going to need more than her extra new £8.5m budget for public relations to smarten up her image.
Or maybe she and the rest of the Brussels foreign policy eurocrats thought the most powerful nation in the world wouldn't notice what they were up to.
In 2009 (yes, before Ashton was parachuted into her unelected post, but she has done nothing to repudiate this policy) the EU gave $3.6m (£2.2m) to lobby groups in America who are campaigning against the death penalty.
The Daily Telegraph had the story a couple of days ago, which didn't seem to bother Brussels. But there is this thing called the internet...so the Wall Street Journal, one of America's only national newspapers and about which Brussels would do well to care, has picked up the story today. The Journal is raging: 'Europe can't find the money to pay for its fair share of NATO but it can spare a dime to hector its main defense benefactor on criminal law.'
'This is why fewer and fewer Americans take Europe seriously.'
The Journal mocked Europe: 'European countries may need bailing out, but you'll be pleased to know that the European Union has enough money to promote human rights and democracy -- in America. Don't laugh.'
'This concern for convicted American murderers is touching, given that its normal recipients are civil-society groups in the likes of Sudan and Zimbabwe. Somehow North Korea and Cuba didn't make the EU's list, perhaps because they execute people without a trial.'
'American states are free to decide their own penal codes, which vary widely and change as facts and public values evolve. Europe won't allow such a debate at home but feels the moral afflatus to tax its own citizens to promote one side of the argument in America.'
Not only won't Europe allow such a debate, it is even worse than the Journal realises: the Lisbon Treaty, in Article 54 of the so-called Charter of Fundamental Rights, ensures that protection of the right to freedom of speech is denied to anyone campaigning to bring back the death penalty.