Despite an impending election in Poland and eurosceptic pressures in Britain, the European Union foreign ministers have voiced determination to clinch a deal on a major reform treaty next month.
They are holding a two-day informal meeting in Viana de Castelo, in northern Portugal. The treaty would give the EU a long-term president, a stronger foreign policy chief and a more democratic voting system.
This gathering is also to address how to respond to the possibility that the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo declares independence unilaterally.
The leaders’ summit is scheduled on October 18-19, in Lisbon. Poland, which has reservations about its influence over common EU policy decisions, is heading for elections planned for just after that summit.
Britain’s foreign minister has spoken out against calls for the treaty to be put to a referendum. Of further concern for some of the 27 member states are UK reservations over the impact of an EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.