Belgium European Union leaders agreed early today - after two long days of tough negotiations - on guidelines for drafting a new EU treaty to replace the bloc's aborted constitution.
All 27 leaders - including Poland, which had staged fierce opposition to the proposed treaty - agreed on a "very precise mandate" to draft a streamlined treaty that will guide and govern the expanded EU, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who chaired the marathon talks, said the deal "represents a significant step forward for the European Union."
Sarkozy joined Merkel in calling the agreement "very good news for Europe."
And Polish President Lech Kaczynski said he, too, was pleased with the outcome.
"I am very happy ... we did not have to swallow any bitter pills," he said. "The position of Poland is definitely stronger under this system."