December 13, 2011
Up to 26 European Union countries will finalize a pact to enforce budget discipline more strictly in the euro zone by March, a top official said on Tuesday, as the bloc tries to move quickly to regain confidence but without Britain’s backing.
EU diplomats hope the first draft of a new fiscal treaty for the 17 nations that use the euro and nine other EU countries will be ready next week.
The ‘fiscal compact’ is meant to allow closer scrutiny of countries’ spending in an attempt to stop a similar debt crisis recurring and potentially making it more palatable for the European Central Bank to step up its purchases of distressed euro zone debt to hold down borrowing costs.
All of the 27 EU states apart from Britain agreed at a summit in Brussels last week that they would pursue deeper fiscal integration as part of efforts to tackle the crisis.