The five biggest remainers will all be represented: Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Poland. They will be joined by the leaders of Bulgaria, Portugal, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Council president Tusk and commission president Juncker will not attend. Outstanding issues include central and east European nations accepting refugees. France and southern countries are pressing for a Eurozone budget to pay for investments and structural reforms. The Netherlands is opposed. The way a new commission president will be selected is also a topic of discussion. France's president Macon is wary of a repeat of last time's procedure that resulted in each European political party pushing forward a candidate and the biggest party getting the prize.
Hertoginnedal Castle is no stranger to European intrigue. It was here that the talks were held in the Fifties that led to the setting up of the Common Market. Whether tonight's lunch will be able to live up to this historic precedent remains to be seen, but bridge builder PM Michel is carving out a place for himself on the world stage without antagonising his main coalition partner, the Flemish nationalist N-VA that differs with him on many European issues.