The European Union is to shelve talks about ever-closer union and writing a constitution in favour of a campaign to win concrete benefits for residents.
It will focus on improving higher eduction across Europe, securing cheaper and more reliable gas supplies and abolishing trade barriers in the financial sector.
The campaign is the brainchild of Jose Barroso, the President of the European Commission.
It follows referenda in Denmark and France last year, in which voters threw the EU political elite into turmoil by rejecting a proposed European Constitution.
A meeting of EU leaders including Tony Blair, in Brussels today and tomorrow, is likely to consider whether the constitution should be revived.
But Mr Barroso has conceded that residents are unlikely to change their mind in the near future.
He is to call on the EU to stop focusing on abstract principles and start providing real benefits to residents, as a way of proving its worth.
Top of his agenda is a scheme to create a European equivalent of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is world-renowned for the quality of its teaching in science and technology.
A senior EU official said: "We cannot ignore the results of the two referenda. We need a Europe which delivers results, and in the next year we have to concentrate on delivering results."
However, at some point the EU would have to return to the question of whether it needed a constitution or something similar, he said.
Last night Birmingham MP Gisela Stuart, who helped write the European Constitution, called on the EU to accept that it was dead.
Ms Stuart (Lab Edgbaston) urged Ministers to be "bold for once", and say "that document will not help us in the next 30 to 50 years and is actually bad for Europe.
"Put it on the table and have it done with because at the moment this is just a kind of displacement therapy. They can go on talking about it because it stops them having to talk about the things that really matter."
She added: "I would welcome it if the EU focused on actually getting things done, but I still question whether Higher Education is a matter for the European Commission.
"Isn't it something France and Germany and Spain need to look at on a national level?"
West Midlands Conservative MEP Philip BushillMatthews called for EU leaders to focus on the priorities of the people rather than the priorities of politicians.
Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, he said: "Some politicians want to use the summit to exhume the European Constitution, instead of letting it rest in peace."
He also criticised Margaret Beckett, the British Foreign Secretary, for failing to back proposals to make Council meetings public.
"Neither approach will bring Europe closer to the people, and simply shows how out of touch such politicians are.
"This summit, and indeed subsequent summits, should focus in practical terms on the next actions needed to drive completion of the Single Market.
"In particular, EU leaders should focus on the need for simplification and reduction of the burden of regulations on business, in order to boost competitiveness and promote employment."
But Ms Beckett warned that opening up European lawmaking to the public would lead to "backroom deals done away from the cameras".
The comments put her at odds with the government of Austria, which is chairing the meeting and backs the plan to open virtually all EU ministerial negotiations to the public.