Attempts among EU leaders to forge agreement among all 27 states on changing treaties to strengthen the euro zone appear to have failed.
In the face of opposition from the UK, they decided to focus on a deal among only the 17 members of the currency after more than eight hours of talks running into the night.
“As you knew we would have preferred a reform of EU treaties among 27 states,” said French President Nicolas Sarkozy. “It was not possible because of the position of our British friends. Therefore it will be an inter-governemental treaty among 17, open to all those who may want to join us.”
The impasse was predictable: British Prime Minister David Cameron had threatened to veto anything that damaged the UK’s interests.
But several smaller EU nations are said to feel they are being forced to bend to France and Germany, who want stricter fiscal discipline.