After two gruelling days of talks, there was no disguising the collective sigh of relief among EU leaders. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the summit teetered on the brink of collapse, but he insisted he was not prepared to let Poland walk away with nothing. “I’m very pleased that Europe has shown that it’s capable of taking tough decisions, even with 27 members,” he said. “It was important that there are no winners or losers – and Europe went back to work,” he added.
Sentiments seemingly shared across the board, especially by Tony Blair, who was attending his last summit as Britain’s Prime Minister. Despite reports of a rift over the EU’s free market between him and his successor, Gordon Brown, Blair declared that he was satisfied with the outcome.
“For a country like Britain, it needs strong alliances to make its weight and influence count and therefore my position throughout the course of my time as prime minister has been to get out of this sort of endless and destructive negativity and realise that actually Britain has a lot to offer Europe and Europe has a lot to offer Britain,” Blair said.
After two years of gloom and introspection, EU leaders will be hoping that the deal will relaunch the political integration of Europe.