French President Nicolas Sarkozy attends his first European Union summit as a divorcee… Summit host Prime Minister Jose Socrates of the EU bloc’s current presiding nation Portugal welcomed each arrival in turn. Polish President Lech Kaczincki has been keeping the others guessing over whether he will dig in his heels for concessions.
If the leaders at the two-day gathering manage to clinch a new reform treaty, it will end years of political tumult. Agreement would end a crisis of confidence sparked by French and Dutch voters’ rejection of a European constitution in 2005, and clear a way forward for a toned-down rule-book for the 27-nation bloc.
This is Gordon Brown’s first EU summit as prime minister. His performance in the wake of his predecessor’s European ambitions will be closely watched.