EU leaders converge on Lisbon to sign landmark reform treaty - 12 December 2007

Lisbon: EU leaders converge on Lisbon Thursday to sign a landmark treaty which they hope will revitalise the expanded bloc and allow them to refocus their energies on wider issues after years of navel-gazing.

One notable absentee at the morning signing ceremony of heads of state and government and foreign ministers will be British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

A diary clash in London means he will miss the ceremony, at a monastery in the Portuguese capital, and sign only after he arrives in Lisbon at lunchtime, leading to accusations at home of a "semi-detached" attitude to Europe.

The EU flying circus will move on to Brussels on Friday for a summit where the leaders will be hoping to show they are now concentrating on pressing issues such as globalisation, global warming and immigration.

The "Treaty of Lisbon", agreed in October after long and sometimes heated negotiations, (...)