It was certainly historic but the jury is still out on whether the long-term steps agreed at last week’s EU summit can solve Europe’s current debt crisis.
Members, except Britain, agreed to draft a new treaty for deeper eurozone integration, with a tougher deficit and debt regime.
A warning of what lies ahead came from Olli Rehn, the EU’s Economic Affairs Commissioner, speaking in Brussels.
“From tomorrow, all member states currently in the existing deficit procedure must comply with the specific recommendations the Council has addressed to them in order to correct their excessive deficit,” Olli Rehn told reporters. “If not, the consequences are clear. In the case of eurozone countries, these countries risk financial sanctions,” Rehn said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy hopes the deal will be ratified by the summer. He says he and German leader Angela Merkel did their best to get Britain on board but could not go back on a drive towards tougher financial sector regulation.