Chancellor Angela Merkel has finally got her way with most of Europe agreeing to a German-inspired pact for stricter budget discipline.
Only Britain and the Czech Republic of the 27-member bloc refused to sign the fiscal compact, which will impose fines on rule breakers .
But with the treaty dominating the Brussels summit there was only limited time to discuss a redirection of funds into stimulating growth and job creation.
It meant that not everyone saw the day’s events as providing the solution to the euro crisis.
Martin Callanan MEP, Leader of Conservatives in the EU Parliament said: “I suspect the markets will look at it and say “what’s new? What has changed? Nothing is going to change, and none of this is going to address the fundamental problems which need to be resolve in the next few weeks, never mind the next few years.”
The Czech Republic cited constitutional reasons for their refusal to sign the treaty. But the Republic’s prime minister along with the other members did back a 500-billion-euro European Stability Mechanism which will come into operation in July to rescue and act as a firewall against heavily indebted states,
But overshadowing proceedings was the Greek crisis and a deal on reducing the country’s debt with private investors.
Euronews reporter in Brussels, Margherita Sforza said:
“Time is running out for Greece, in March Athens must repay more than 14 billion euros of debt. To give some relief to the Greek economy the European council has called for a rapid enactment of the agreement with the private sector, preferably by the end of the week.”