The European Union said Friday, December 9, that 26 of its 27 member countries are open to joining a new treaty tying their finances together to solve the euro crisis. Only Britain remains opposed, creating a deep rift in the union.
In marathon overnight talks, the 17 countries that use the euro gradually persuaded nearly all the others to consider joining the new treaty they would create. Some of those countries may face parliamentary opposition to the treaty, which would allow for unprecedented oversight of national budgets.
“Except for one, all are considering participation,” EU President Herman Van Rompuy told reporters after the summit ended. “I’m optimistic because I know it is going to be very close to 27.”
A document released near the end of a high-stakes EU summit Friday, December 9, said the leaders of nine of the 10 EU countries that don’t use the euro “indicated the possibility to take part in this process after consulting their parliaments where appropriate.”
“This is the breakthrough to the stability union,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a press conference after the summit.
In drafting a new treaty, the countries hope to help European nations struggling with giant debts over the long term, and in that sense there were early indications of success. Such an agreement is considered necessary before the European Central Bank and other institutions commit more money to lowering the borrowing costs of heavily indebted countries like Italy and Spain, AP reported.