A preliminary accord has been reached at the European Council summit: satisfying Poland that a new voting system for the bloc will be introduced in 2014 rather than 2009. Also: a new foreign policy official will be called a high representative. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, currently heading the EU presidency, has been struggling to broker a reform treaty deal.
At his final EU summit as Prime Minister, Tony Blair has said Britain will sign up to a treaty only if a list of demands are met. After a brief row, when French President Nicolas Sarkozy persuaded Germany to remove a key mention of competition policy from common guidelines, the principle of “free and undistorted” competition was restored.
As to replacing the disputed EU constitution with a slimmed-down treaty, even though Polish President Lech Kaczinski had said he was open to reasonable pursuasion, it took time to produce results. Dutch and Finnish journalists covering the two-day summit in Brussels have been placing bets on whether it will end in success or failure – and when: tonight or tomorrow.