The latest of those sources is an online draft
of the Council conclusions. From that we see the confirmation, which starts with the acknowledgement that: "strong mechanisms for democratic legitimacy and accountability are necessary". That, decoded, means that treaty change is on its way.
Next, we see the parameters set out, as we are told that, "one of the guiding principles in this context is to ensure that democratic control and accountability take place at the level at which decisions are taken". Then we get the "action statement": "In this spirit, ways to ensure a debate in the context of the European Semester, both within the European Parliament and national parliaments, should be explored".
There's your "forum", not quite exactly as Merkel defined (the "civil society" is yet to be added) but close enough - the instruction to form it has been given. Gradually, the strands are coming together, with the next big landmark to come in the Spring of 2014, when the EU Commission tables its proposals for a new treaty.
Then, crucially – as firmly indicated by these current Council conclusions- any treaty changes are to be applied exclusively to the eurozone. The "colleagues" are not going to give Cameron any wriggle-room. They are not going to entertain any UK renegotiation, and will face him down if he tries to push the issue.
That, with the Merkel "forum" in the making, leaves nothing for Cameron to get his teeth into. At the moment, there is not even an option for a pretend veto, as there is nothing to veto. How can you try to stop a "debate"? Any such idea is absurd.
So, the pre-ordained timetable is still in place, The actual convention will not be launched until the latter half of 2014, after the euro-elections, and a treaty will not be agreed until at least 2016. Thus, the UK referendum remains fixed, for a point well after the general election, with 2018 or later looking most likely.
In the meantime, the dance will go on. All the rest is either noise or theatre – or both. The substantive, long-term issues have already been decided, the timing already settled.