European Union leaders are meeting in Brussels in an effort to resolve a deadlock over the bloc's first-ever constitution.
The two-day summit is aimed at winning agreement on an EU Constitution that would streamline the decision-making process, when the bloc expands from 15 to 25 members next May.
The main obstacle stems from a long-running dispute over voting powers. Germany and France want to scale back voting rights of members with smaller populations. Spain and future member Poland refuse to surrender generous voting powers they secured at an EU summit three years ago.
Britain appears to be more neutral on the issue and is seen as a mediator to broker a deal. Leaders of EU's big three powers - Britain, France and Germany - held breakfast talks today ahead of the full-scale summit.
EU members today (Friday) approved a revised defense plan that would coordinate EU defense activities with those of the NATO alliance.
The proposal, drafted by Britain, France and Germany is set to end a dispute with the United States, which was critical of initial plans to create an EU military center that would operate independently from NATO.
Information for this report is provided by AFP and Reuters.