“It is the first step towards a fiscal union.”
So says Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank, hailing a deal on stricter budget discipline agreed to by 25 of the EU’s 27 members.
Prime Minister David Cameron is still refusing to bring Britain on board. However, eurosceptic colleagues at home are angry that he has now dropped his objection to the European Court being used to enforce the new ‘fiscal compact.’
Prague’s decision to join London on the sidelines has stirred political tensions there. Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg is angry at Prime Minister Petr Necas’s reluctance to sign up right away. Ironically, Necas had said he could not sign without a broader political consensus in the country.
The German-inspired pact was not the only success being celebrated in Brussels. A permanent rescue fund for the eurozone was also agreed in what the EU will want to remember as a mid-winter mission accomplished.