During his political career, Jacques Chirac, who died on Thursday (26 September), made a complete U-turn on Europe, from calling Europe a "mollusc" in 1979 to becoming a European of reason, then of heart. EURACTIV's partner Ouest-France reports.
The UK would seek EU opt-outs on directives affecting labour rights and financial services regulation if eurozone countries adopt fundamental treaty changes, Prime Minister David Cameron told the UK parliament on Tuesday (6 September).
MPs in the UK have rejected a proposal put forward by the opposition Conservatives to hold a popular referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon, paving the way for the text to be ratified via parliamentary vote.
The EU may be able to breathe more easily after exit polls in yesterday's (21 October) Polish parliamentary elections signalled the end of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski's two-year reign, which was characterised by frequent confrontations with other member states.
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has promised "the fullest Parliamentary debate" over the EU's new treaty agreed in Lisbon last week but once again ruled out holding a referendum, saying the substance of the new text is different from the defunct EU Constitution.
EU foreign ministers voiced optimism that the last stumbling blocks to an agreement on the new Reform Treaty could be overcome at a crucial summit in Lisbon this week, with diplomats even considering adding new items to the agenda in order to keep leaders busy.
Under increasing pressure from the Conservatives to hold a referendum on the EU's new treaty, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he will veto any agreement that does not respect the country's hard-fought "red lines".
The Portuguese Presidency has unveiled a legally-updated version of the EU's new Reform Treaty, ahead of a key summit in Lisbon on 18-19 October. But Poland has already threatened to reject the text, which fails to satisfy its demands for stronger voting rights.
Frans Timmermans, Dutch Minister for EU Affairs, is confident that Parliament will support the government's decision to avoid a referendum on the new EU treaty. But at the same time, he concedes that more needs to be done to gain the support of the Dutch public, which he says is currently "quite low". He shared his views on this and other EU topics with EURACTIV Slovakia.
The Dutch government has ruled out holding a popular vote on the EU's 'Reform Treaty', in order to avert a rerun of the referendum in which Dutch citizens rejected the European Constitution two years ago. However, opposition parties could still oppose the decision in Parliament.
The UK prime minister met with his German counterpart Angela Merkel, amid increasing pressure to hold a referendum on the new EU Treaty as trade unions joined forces with Conservatives and Eurosceptics.
The EU is set to launch an Intergovernmental Conference in Brussels today (23 July) to revise its institutions and power-sharing system amid growing calls in the UK to submit the draft 'Reform Treaty' to a referendum.
Tony Blair's successor as UK prime minister, Gordon Brown, has unveiled a major cabinet reshuffle in an attempt to put his stamp on the government. While Brown himself is seen as a "minimalist European", his new pro-European foreign minister could serve as a political counterweight.
The deal clinched at the EU Summit on a 'Reform Treaty' to replace the stalled Constitution could still face a backlash during the ratification procedure as a number of member states, including Ireland and Denmark, prepare for referenda. In Britain, incoming Prime Minister Gordon Brown is under pressure from the opposition to hold a national vote.
Speaking ahead of what promises to be a difficult summit, Commission President José Manuel Barroso warned Poland that other EU members could turn their backs on the country in future budget talks if it persists in blocking a deal on a new EU Treaty.
The French and Polish presidents have met in Paris to discuss institutional reform. But with the growing threat of a Polish veto on any change to the Council voting system, the upcoming summit is unlikely to bring the EU out of its institutional impasse.
Despite his opposition to Turkey's EU entry, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has signalled that he would not block current membership negotiations ahead of the June Summit, saying the "real rendezvous" will be in December.
The Portuguese presidency will mainly focus on the political agenda and attempting to resolve the institutional impasse, as well as the external agenda, promoting competitiveness, security and improving relations with third countries.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pleaded for more solidarity within the EU ahead of the European Summit, as the Czech government teams up with the Poles to open up the voting-rights issue in the new treaty.
Commission President José Manuel Barroso changed his plans to hold informal talks with a hand-picked group of key EU leaders on the stalled EU Constitution, after controversy broke out over the number of invitees.
Commission President José Manuel Barroso has called on EU leaders to follow an ambitious road map to put a new treaty in place by 2009 and has warned against reopening issues already agreed in the Constitutional Treaty.