European leaders begin a two-day summit in Brussels today in an effort to prepare for the Copenhagen climate talks in December.They’ll discuss that and steering the bloc’s economies out of recession.
But there’s still the unfinished business of the Lisbon Treaty to consider. The Czech Republic is the last of the 27 EU states still holding out against ratification. Its president wants an opt out from a rights charter before he’ll sign – something else for the leaders to look at. The delay over Lisbon is holding up other issues. The reform treaty will create a new EU president. Much lobbying is expected on behalf of the two men so far in the frame – First there’s Tony Blair, if the consensus is for a big name to take the job, Britain’s former prime minister is said to be keen. But there are misgivings over Blair’s link with the Iraq war and the UK’s not being in the eurozone. Jean-Claude Junker – Luxembourg’s premier is also said to be interested. He’s thought to be a more unifying candidate. But others are expected to throw their hats into the ring. To make sure the leaders are not distracted by all the politics – the relief agency Oxfam has built a miniature camp in the centre of Brussels to remind them of the potential plight of people if climate change isn’t made the top priority at the summit.