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U.K. Isolated As Euro Nations Move Ahead On New Pact

Britain Prime Minister David Cameron (left) and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte  earlier today at the summit in Brussels.
Britain Prime Minister David Cameron (left) and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte earlier today at the summit in Brussels.

There's been movement today in Brussels, where leaders from the European Union nations are trying to save the euro and restore some faith in the financial markets that they can manage the euro zone's debt crisis. But an important division remains among the 27 nations.

The consensus among news outlets covering the story seems to be:

-- "UK Isolated As Europe Moves Ahead On Fiscal Union." ( Reuters)

-- "Eurozone Countries Go It Alone With New Treaty That Excludes Britain." ( The Guardian)

-- "Eurozone Deal Reached Without UK." ( BBC News)

The Financial Times writes that:

"The refusal by David Cameron, UK prime minister, to agree to a full treaty change for all 27 EU members without inserting special safeguards for UK financial services caused a standoff in the early hours with Angela Merkel, German chancellor, and Nicolas Sarkozy, French president.

"Despite the division – which will leave Britain out of the new pact, with the Czech Republic, Hungary and Sweden still weighing participation – Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank president, signalled his approval, a key vote of confidence that could allow the ECB to move more aggressively in eurozone bond markets."

As for how markets will react, Bloomberg News says U.S. stock index futures rose this morning "after European leaders agreed to boost a rescue fund and tighten budget rules to stem the region's debt crisis."

On Morning Edition today, NPR's Philip Reeves rounded up how things got to where they are.

Update at 12:45 p.m. ET. A "Treaty Between Governments."

The BBC is interpreting today's events this way:

"A German and French attempt to get all 27 EU states to back changes to the union's treaties was dropped after objections from the UK. Prime Minister David Cameron had insisted on an exemption for the UK from some financial regulations. Instead, eurozone members and others will adopt an accord with penalties for breaking deficit rules. The new tougher rules on spending and budgets will now be backed not by an EU treaty but by a treaty between governments. It will be quicker to set up but it may prove less rigorous, says the BBC's Europe editor Gavin Hewitt in Brussels."

Update at 12:30 p.m. ET: The initial reaction on Wall Street is positive. Stocks are modestly higher in New York trading.

"Things are incrementally getting resolved in Europe — not out of the woods but at least we have some sort of framework," Jeffrey Schwarte, a money manager at Principal Global Investors, told Bloomberg News.

But as Reuters notes, the new treaty "could take three months to negotiate and may require losable referendums in countries such as Ireland."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.