Europe’s foreign ministers, with Portugal’s Luis Amado in the chair, have begun meetings that will lead to a final written version of the EU Treaty, replacing its ill-fated constitution. It is little different, but that does not mean legions of legal experts will not have to examine it to ensure it still works. Eurosceptics like Poland, happy with the initial compromise at the EU summit in June, may also have more to say; “The Polish Minister has made a strong statement on the conformity with the mandate, the acceptance of the mandate. Certainly, if few issues are raised we will deal with them at technical level… What we really now need to evaluate is how the technical process of transition from the mandate into the text of the treaty will raise or not anyirrelevant political issues again.”
What Mr Amado means is that what they have already agreed on, they now need to agree on again before it is engraved in stone in a document that is destined to be seen as historic in the same way the Nice or Rome treaties were. If all goes well, the treaty comes into force in 2009, just ahead of the European elections.