It is mission accomplished for Angela Merkel. The German Chancellor, backed by France, has won agreement from other European Union leaders to tweak their main treaty.
The deal at an EU summit in Brussels is part of a Berlin-led push for greater financial stringency following Greece’s debt crisis.
Merkel welcomed the accord on limited changes to the Lisbon Treaty and the endorsement of tougher budget rules. Members states’ competitiveness could be supervised in the future, she said, meaning the European Council would operate as an economic government.
Britain’s austerity-minded leader claimed victory in keeping the EU’s budget in check. David Cameron won assurances from Germany, France and some other countries that they would hold firm to their position to limit a rise to 2.9 per cent next year.
“At the time when we are making painful decisions at home to put our economy back on track, I will not allow Brussels to derail us,” he told reporters. “We prevented a crazy 6 per cent rise in the EU budget.”
As for implementing treaty change, a long process lies ahead. The aim is to get the amendments ratified by all member states by mid-2013