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23 EU countries to draft economic oversight treaty

23 EU countries will draft a new treaty to align economic and fiscal policies in the eurozone.

David Cameron, the UK’s prime minister, opposed plans to change the EU’s existing treaties to strengthen the eurozone’s economic discipline, EUobserver reports. Hence all 17 euro countries plus Denmark, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Romania have decided to write a treaty on their own.

“We are committed to working towards a common economic policy. A procedure will be established to ensure that all major economic policy reforms planned by euro area member states will be discussed and coordinated at the level of the euro area, with a view to benchmarking best practices,” heads of state said after a meeting of the European Council in Brussels on 8-9 December.

They added: “considering the absence of unanimity among the EU member states, they decided to adopt [some of the measures] through an international agreement to be signed in March or at an earlier date.”

Sweden and the Czech Republic have said they need parliamentary approval before making a decision, while Hungary may do so, and the UK has refused to join.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy commented on the UK’s posture: “You cannot on the one hand be asking for an opt-out from the euro and on the other hand ask to be involved in all the decisions of a euro that you not only do not want and but also often criticise. We are not going to apologise for what we are doing to save our currency,” EUobserver reports.

Cameron said: “I wish colleagues well in the euro. While there were strong disagreements, it was good natured. What was on offer wasn’t good enough for Britain.”