French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner welcomed a last-minute European Union treaty deal reached early Saturday and said Europe has been back on its way.
Europe has been "back on its way" after an agreement was reached at a summit in Brussels, paving the way for formal negotiations on a new treaty this Autumn, Kouchner said in an interview with TV station TF1 Saturday night.
The treaty, to be drafted in coming months and ratified in 2009, was designed to replace the abortive constitution that Dutch and French voters rejected two years ago in order to relaunch the political integration process of Europe.
Given that it is ratified this time, the treaty would give Europe stronger leadership, a streamlined decision-making process, a bigger voice on the world stage and more say for the European and national parliaments.
Kouchner said the European Union showed its life by striking such a deal despite differences between members, which nearly drowned the three-day summit in Brussels.
"That's Europe: there are battles and then at the end there is fraternity and a move forward," Kouchner said. "There will be a Europe full of energy ... there will be many possibilities that hadn't been there before."
The now 27-member EU represents 490 million people.
The treaty negotiations in Brussels were overshadowed by Poland's determination to secure its influence in the bloc.
Poland demanded that it get EU voting powers disproportionate to its size because of its heavy loss of life during World War II.
The final deal was a compromise of complex voting rules and legal language, plus scattered opt-outs from EU rules.