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Optimism abounds for clinching of EU treaty

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Optimism abounds for clinching of EU treaty

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The current European Union president Portugal says it is strongly optimistic about the prospects in Lisbon this week. Many of the foreign ministers laying the groundwork for the EU summit have voiced confidence. The goal is a text to replace the constitution rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005.

At their one-day gathering in Luxembourg, they suggested that none of the issues involving Poland or Italy is serious enough to prevent EU leaders from finalising the treaty on Friday.

Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga: ‘‘Yes, sure, there are small items remaining. We are very optimistic before the summit this week. We never have more requests, we have one major item that is Ioannina and we are very close to a compromise. We will see.’‘

Ioannina is a reference to allow states without a blocking minority to delay EU decisions for several months. The treaty provides for a long-term EU president, more democratic decision-making and more power for the European and national parliaments. Britain says it is satisfied with its social and home affairs opt-outs.