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EU leaders agree fiscal pact

Friday, December 09, 2011 - 01:50

Dec. 9 - Europe divided on Friday in a historic rift over building a fiscal union to preserve the euro, with a large majority of countries led by Germany and France agreeing to move ahead with a separate treaty, leaving Britain isolated. Hayley Platt reports.

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There was little time for sleep. After agreeing treaty changes for euro zone countries only, European leaders were back to talk some more. Overnight 23 of the 27 leaders agreed to tighter integration with stricter budget rules for the single currency. France and Germany had wanted full EU agreement but Hungary and crucially Britain objected. (SOUNDBITE)(German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "I'm very happy with the result because we managed not to make a lousy compromise for the euro. Everybody in the world will see that we've learned from the mistakes in the past, that credibility is paramount. Britain voted against the deal after failing to secure concessions to protect its financial services industry. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY SAYING: "We weren't able to accept that because we consider on the contrary that a good part of the worries of the world comes from the deregulation of financial services." (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON SAYING: "We want the euro zone countries to come together and to solve their problems, but we should only allow that to open inside the European Union treaties, if there are proper protections for the single market and for other British key interests." The summit is supposed to come up with a solution to the debt crisis. Analysts say so far the leaders haven't done that. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NICK BEECROFT, SENIOR MARKETS CONSULTANT, SAXO BANK, SAYING: "It's probably a little harsh to describe the outcome of the summit as a 'dogs dinner' that would be going a bit too far. But a 'curate's egg' certainly, it's good in parts and poor in others." The European Central Bank called the decision a step forward although many analysts still see more intervention from the bank as the only answer to the crisis Hayley Platt Reuters.

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EU leaders agree fiscal pact

Friday, December 09, 2011 - 01:50