EU tries to find common ground on bloc's future shape

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EU tries to find common ground on bloc's future shape

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It is the second and final day of a European Union summit and there is still plenty of work to do to resolve remaining differences. Divisions persist over the future expansion of the bloc and about whether and how to revive the stalled EU constitution – not that any of that was apparent from the comments of European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. “I hope that today the conclusions will make it clear that this Europe of results is progressing,” he told reporters. “The atmosphere of discussion yesterday was very good – namely on enlargement. This renewed consensus on enlargement is clearly emerging.”

At the talks in Brussels as observers, Romania and Bulgaria are definitely joining, on January 1. But it is what happens after that that is proving difficult to agree on, with Turkey a case in point. The broad message however is that in future the EU will be harder to enter. The constitution issue is also tricky after French and Dutch rejections. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has the task of sorting it all out when her country takes over the rotating EU presidency next month.