Van Rompuy sees EU treaty by March

Van Rompuy sees EU treaty by March

Van Rompuy sees EU treaty by March

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy speaks during a European Union leaders summit on Dec 11. AA photo

A pact among up to 26 European Union countries to enforce stricter budget rules and win back confidence in the eurozone will be finalized by March 2012, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said yesterday.

EU diplomats hope the first draft of a new fiscal treaty for the 17 nations that use the euro and nine other EU countries not in the single currency will be ready next week.

Many of the EU’s mechanisms for imposing discipline on profligate debtor countries take effect yesterday, but details on how to activate automatic sanctions in the new intergovernmental treaty still need to be decided.

Early March deadline for agreement

Twenty-six EU member states -all of them 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 euro zone debt crisis.
“Early March at the latest, this fiscal compact treaty will be signed,” Van Rompuy said in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Several non-euro zone countries, including Sweden, Hungary and the Czech Republic, still need parliamentary approval before they can give their full backing to the move. Diplomats say this is largely a formality, but eurozone assets have lost ground since the summit, reflecting investor disappointment that leaders failed to agree more immediate steps for tackling the crisis.