EUROPEAN superpowers will meet to thrash out the future direction for the struggling bloc this evening, but eurocrats appeared to have been sidelined from the process.

France, Germany, Italy and Spain will come together at the grand palace of Versailles for a crisis summit as infighting over where to go next threatens to consume the EU from the inside.

The conference has been called by French leader Francois Hollande in response to the publication of Jean-Claude Juncker’s white paper last week, which maps out five potential pathways for the project.

But before it even began the two heavyweights appeared to be on a collision course, with the outgoing president favouring a two-speed Europe and the EU boss opting for a full-blown superstate.

Neither Mr Juncker nor the EU Council president Donald Tusk will be in Paris this evening, and their diaries show that they do not have any meetings or telephone calls scheduled with the four leaders who will be present.

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