British Prime Minister Tony Blair welcomed the agreement, saying: "I think this allows us now to really get on with the things that the citizens of Europe are really concerned about. And it gives us the chance also, of course, to consider what rules are appropriate in a union of 25 [countries] and, in the time to come, 27, and possibly even more."
EU leaders today also backed bids by Romania and Bulgaria to join the bloc next year, provided they both speed up reforms.
They also endorsed an emergency 100 million euro ($126 million) international aid package for the Palestinians. The aid disbursements would bypass the government led by the militant group Hamas.
Many international donors have frozen funds to the Palestinian Authority until Hamas renounces violence and recognizes Israel's right to exist.
(compiled from agency reports)
EU Expands Eastward
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