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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EU Leaders Start to Talk Treaty

BRUSSELS -- EU foreign ministers Monday were to begin four-month negotiations to complete a draft reform treaty meant to streamline the way the bloc operates.

Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado, whose country holds the European Union presidency, was to present a full outline of the new charter to his counterparts at the start of the negotiations, which are being fast-tracked by Portugal.

Amado wants to secure a deal by an EU leaders summit in October, making sure a treaty can be adopted before the next European Parliament elections planned for 2009.

Last-minute confusion had threatened to scuttle plans for a quick deal after Poland earlier this month questioned a compromise that had been reached after 30 hours of tough negotiations between EU leaders in June.

Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga said Monday that her government was "generally satisfied" with the negotiating outline, which will form the basis of technical talks in the coming months.

Fotyga said, however, that there were still "several issues many of the countries have" with the treaty's provisions.

Portuguese officials said Friday that they expected Warsaw to stick to the delicate compromise, not to reopen a contentious debate over how much power and how many votes it should have compared with other states in the 27-nation bloc.