The European Union Council of Ministers has agreed to be in constant open special session throughout the oncoming World Trade Organisation Hong Kong summit on December 13-18.

EU ministers want to avoid the problems faced by former EU trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy at the last WTO summit in Cancun, who was unable to vary his negotiating brief to reflect the fast changes in positions amongst single government members of the WTO.

The constant session would, said a council statement, enable it “to provide the (European) Commission with any further necessary guidance in the final stage of negotiations” and “take any necessary decisions”.