Europe

EU leaders, minus Britain, mull bloc's future

  • European Council President Donald Tusk speaks during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, March 9, 2017. European Union leaders confirmed Donald Tusk for a second term as council president Thursday, overcoming weeks of strong opposition from his native Poland. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    European Council President Donald Tusk speaks during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, March 9, 2017. European Union leaders confirmed Donald Tusk for a second term as council president Thursday, overcoming weeks of strong opposition from his native Poland. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left, and European Council President Donald Tusk leave after addressing a media conference during an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, March 9, 2017. European Union leaders confirmed Donald Tusk for a second term as council president Thursday, overcoming weeks of strong opposition from his native Poland. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left, and European Council President Donald Tusk leave after addressing a media conference during an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, March 9, 2017. European Union leaders confirmed Donald Tusk for a second term as council president Thursday, overcoming weeks of strong opposition from his native Poland. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to address a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, March 9, 2017. European Union leaders confirmed Donald Tusk for a second term as council president Thursday, overcoming weeks of strong opposition from his native Poland. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

    British Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to address a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, March 9, 2017. European Union leaders confirmed Donald Tusk for a second term as council president Thursday, overcoming weeks of strong opposition from his native Poland. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)  (The Associated Press)

European Union leaders are debating the future of their bloc as Britain eyes the exit door and far-right parties appear ready to make a strong stand in elections around Europe.

The 27 leaders, minus British Prime Minister Theresa May, gathered at EU headquarters Friday a day after a rift with Poland over a top EU job exposed new fault lines in the European project.

Discussions will focus on their summit in Rome to mark the 60th anniversary of the EU's founding treaty, and how to maintain unity amid severe political and migration pressures.

The leaders are weighing how a future EU should operate; whether it should limit itself to a trade bloc, steam toward a federal super-state or allow members to advance at different speeds when practical.