EU leaders gathered for an unprecedented seventh summit in what has been a turbulent and costly 2012.
In contrast to recent meetings an air of optimism pervaded the European Council as the great and the good posed for the traditional family photograph.
The deal thrashed out by finance ministers on a banking supervisor lifted spirits.
Herman van Rompuy European Council president summed up the mood:
“The worst is now behind us but of course much still has to be done. We have started the week well in Oslo, let us end it well in Brussels with further positive outcomes.”
Peace appears to have broken out among the peacemakers as Chancellor Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande entered the chamber together, despite differences on how many banks should come under ECB scrutiny.
Merkel wanted just the main players and got it. Hollande wanted more and had to be content with less.
Our correspondent in Brussels James Franey said:
“This year political horse trading ends for EU leaders here in Brussels, but there will be plenty in their intray when they come to the new year, possible Italian elections, further tough talks on eurozone integration and the thorny issue of the EU budget to resolve.”