• Germany's news in English

Exhausted Merkel hails 'very important result'

The Local · 9 Dec 2011, 10:26

Published: 09 Dec 2011 07:23 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Dec 2011 10:26 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

After marathon talks that wrapped up, leaders had achieved a "very, very important result ... because we have learned from our mistakes and from the past," said the chancellor.

Merkel and Sarkozy were dealt an early blow in Brussels when British Prime Minister David Cameron blocked attempts to change the European Union treaty to force members to shore up their budgets.

“I can confirm that Britain will not take part in any treaty changes,” an EU diplomat told reporters early Friday morning. Three other member states – Hungary, Sweden and the Czech Republic – also joined Britain in effectively scuppering the option of a treaty change.

This means that the remaining EU members – the 17 countries that use the euro plus Bulgaria, Denmark, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Romania – will attempt to sign a new treaty that obliges them to submit to stricter fiscal discipline.

“We will create a new fiscal union that is also a stability union,” Merkel said. It would

include limiting state debt and automatic sanctions for those that break the rules.

EU President Herman Van Rompuy said that a new agreement would be quicker to implement than trying to adjust the existing treaty. “Speed is necessary in to order to increase credibility,” Van Rompuy said.

The head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, also hailed the result as a "very good outcome" for the euro area following the pivotal summit.

"It's going to be the basis for a fiscal compact ... for much more discipline in economic policy and it's certainly going to be helpful in the present situation," Draghi told reporters on leaving the summit.

Story continues below…

But legal experts warned that the new "17 plus 6" fiscal union could run into difficulties, since it must not contradict any rules set by the existing EU contracts.

Cameron questioned whether the new union would be allowed to use EU institutions. “The institutions of the European Union belong to the European Union, the 27,” he said.

AFP/DPA/The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

13:46 December 9, 2011 by Nemesis
It has just been announced today, that only the UK stands apart from this agreement, after other leaders consulted there governments.

Looks like only the UK wants to be ruled by the markets and the other 26 want to be ruled by there governments.
14:20 December 9, 2011 by ChrisRea
Europe darling, you know how much I love you. I like the idea of marriage so I think we should get married too. Even if it is unusual, during tough times for our family I would still like to retain my right to spend my whole income on gambling, partying or any other entertainment purpose I see fit (even if we already have children to raise). I am sure it is enough if you take care of family's costs and savings. So, will you marry me? Yours, UK
15:50 December 9, 2011 by The Man
The UK actually wants to be ruled by its own elected parliament (rotten though parts of it may be) rather than the unelected, undemocratic EU Commission.

It will be good if Germany and France can rescue the Euro, but trying to tie 20+ other countries together, a couple of which are already financial basket cases, will not be easy. Up to now the rescue attempts have looked rather like politicians rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic hoping against hope that it isn't sinking....
17:15 December 9, 2011 by r2d2c3po
The EU's enforcement of it's own rules has been an ongoing joke. Why would anyone think it will be different now? Good for the UK in choosing not to be ruled by Brussels. Once the fine print is seen expect may countries to reject the idea.
17:59 December 9, 2011 by carlm
What a laugh, this time it'll be different, no more fooling around, everyone's going to have to behave, no exceptions, they're laying down the law, again, really, wipe that smirk off your face, they mean business, seriously.
18:31 December 9, 2011 by Englishted
I will what for this new deal to be put to the electorate in the countries involved.

How long do you think I will have to wait ?.


In a marriage(at least in mine) there is normally consultation on important issues that will fundamentally effect our future.I refer to myself as a voter not as a county

I was not consulted on expansion ,I was not consulted on the introduction of the Euro,some of my ilk were consulted some years back about a "new constitution ",however when this was rejected the non elected powers that be took no notice and carried on regardless.

If you like this idea of a "forced marriage "(illegal in the U.K.)than you have my best wishes ,for myself first to counseling if that fails then to the divorce court on the grounds of unreasonable behavior o the partner.
19:16 December 9, 2011 by luckylongshot
This agreement is yet another step down the path to a horror future for the people of Europe. Until today we had some protection from the evil plans of the private banking elite that control issuing money. We had democraticly elected governments and could stop these people by using our votes. What seems to have been agreed to is that this avenue is being closed. Unelected bureaucrats who serve the private banking elite will soon be able to overrule decisions made by elected politicians. The bad guys are taking our money, our democratic rights and our future. We are headed down the path back to the serfdom/ slavery that democracy freed us from.

How about a referendum??
20:06 December 9, 2011 by Kennneth Ingle
I am all for Europe, but not without Britain and not without a harmonisation of taxes and social security systems.

A common currency cannot work when it has no secure financial fundament. At the moment we have the ridiculous situation, in which some citizens are expected to work until they are 67 whereas others go into retirement at the age of 49.

A German who decides to live in Britain after retirement can receive his full pension, free medical care and free local transport facilities. A Briton, who on average receives a much lower retirement pension, but wishes to reside permanently in Germany, must pay for both of the above.

As long as such differences exist, it is not surprising that so many Britons are Euro sceptics, but the blame for such inequalities can be placed on Westminster just as much as on Merkel.

A Germany whose government does not even respect its own constitution and a Britain which refuses to co-operate with its neighbours, are just two reasons for pessimism. Multiply such problems by the number of European nations and the chances of a win - win situation for the EU is less likely than a six in Lotto.
20:10 December 9, 2011 by sparki
Hmm, here you are UK, sign this, and we're going to tax financial transactions along the way. So seeing as 65% of EU finance transactions are done in London, we're taxing you. So you may lose some jobs (no bad thing, they are bankers after all) and your finance companies might leave for a country outside the EU where the tax doesn't apply. OH, and also because of that the £56bn in tax the UK government gets in tax revenues already from this industry will drop of course too. Yes I know we all hate the bankers, but they do make up 10% of UK GDP, no-where else is finance such a big part of the EU. Goodness knows the UK don't really make anything, finance is all we know. But who cares, Germany usually gets what it wants, France well, they do what the French do. So good on you Mr Cameron, we might not like finance, but I'd rather be in control of our destiny than be told what to do by Brussels (or should I say Germany).
22:59 December 9, 2011 by ChrisRea
@ Englishted

I hope you do not want to say that UK was forced to join EU. Anyway, the topic of the article today is fully different. It is about EU members committing themselves to stricter fiscal discipline. It is not (yet) about Euro, it is about maintaining standards (like the other standards in the acquis communautaire, for example related to consumers and health protection). Once that the country shows that it can fulfill these standards, then we can talk about allowing the country in the Eurozone. If it cannot, then bye-bye Euro for that country.

What UK said was that it is interested in benefits (that's why it would be willing to sign the agreement), but only if it can get away from responsibilities when does not want to fulfill them (the de facto veto). It would have been much better to be honest and say that is not interested at all.
23:07 December 9, 2011 by DULS
people see Germany as a economic giant and a political midget, I kind look at the UK as economic midget and a political retarded. If they leave the EU, It would be great, we kind have enough third world countries ( economy or mentality ) in the union so why having another one. Bye bye UK, I guess you are not going to miss you. Auf Wiedersehen!!!
00:24 December 10, 2011 by Foreign interest.
The UK should never have left its Commonwealth trading partnersonly to shackle itself to this dysfunctional conglomeration of European countries.

The Sarkozy Merkel alliance will not outlast the mess they have created for themselves.

Their latest meeting looked more like an attempt to interfere in UK governance and take over their sovereign powers, than anything about their debt crisis. It all looked highly irresponsible.

The next step is for the UK to shut its borders, revive its traditional social, cultural and economic conditions --- and prosper.

The EU is a basket case, led by a transparently ambitious woman and her unelected minions.

A shameful episode and one that the rest of the world is watching, in diplomatically quiet disgust. There is a modern Asia-Pacific region that Europe has ignored.

We feel so pleased that the UK did not dangerously divest any of its powers, its finance sector, its sovereignty or its dignity to encroaching foreign controllers.
00:44 December 10, 2011 by DULS
@Foreign interest. .- prosper you must be joking, that is good one. I guess some people confused dignity with stupidity. Please just don't forget to keep your borders shut, cut the telephone lines and stop the Eurostar. Anyway it seems that many people in the UK still believe they can live and prosper isolated from the world. Anyway the chavs are there to stay.
01:36 December 10, 2011 by Foreign interest.
With the greatest of respect Duls, why should people in the UK not live and prosper without being shackled to Brussels? They don't have to be politically tied to some stifling, controlling "union" in order to be successful.

In terms of being "isolated", that's a nonsense. So which is one of the most successful, "isolated" countries in the world? Which "isolated" country is flying high economically? Which "isolated" country did not experience a recession? Which "isolated" country has a steadily low unemployment rate?

And so "isolated", you probably don't have an answer to any of the above questions.

"Isolation" from Europe? Bring it on.
14:52 December 10, 2011 by Englishted

It is about two members of the Eurozone trying to impose their idea on 27 members of the E.U..

It is about trying to raise tax on financial transaction (a tax that would mainly hit the U.K.). not a increase in tax on industrial production that would hit Germany or a tax on tourism hitting Italy etc.etc..

Don't you remember the "rules " on spending the E.U. had before? France and Germany broke the rules over and over again but nothing happened ,if with the new rules they broke them again nothing would happen (are they too big to fail ?)only smaller countries would be bullied into compliance .

To try and bring into the equation "consumers and health protection" is a red herring ,it is used to allow some to enter the E.U. while debarring others and has absolutely nothing to do with the Euro or the Eurozone.

I still await news of a vote in any of the countries involved in this undemocratic process,or has that also been changed in the new rules.
18:03 December 10, 2011 by jg.
It's good to know that everything's fixed now there will be a new treaty: all that terrible debt will vanish overnight because the southern Europeans will all suddenly close their black economies and start paying their taxes, everyone across the EU will stop demonstrating and knuckle under the huge cuts in public expenditure imposed from Brussels and Frankfurt. Tax systems will be harmonised in a matter of weeks and will be run with Germanic efficiency. The markets will be happy that everything is under control, banks will be lending money to Eurozone governments for next to no interest and Eurozone economies won't see universal downgrades in their credit ratings. All the EU politicians can head off for Christmas holidays, safe in the knowledge that they have saved the Euro, the EU and civilisation as we know it.
19:32 December 10, 2011 by ChrisRea

Well, it is not two, but one member trying to impose its idea to the rest of the EU. Luckily, 23 EU members already said no to UK and the other three will consult their parliaments first. But the majority of EU said that they learned something from the current crisis. The decision will not wash away the debts overnight, but will probably prevent other similar crises. If UK does not want to responsibly manage its budgets and its national debt, then it is its choice. Good luck! FYI, in 1991 UK's national debt was 20% of its GDP and now it is 60%. That's what I call efficiency.

Where did you get this idea of the financial transaction tax being discussed at this summit? This is actually the red herring.
04:54 December 11, 2011 by JimBrown
Tempest in a teapot or maybe a beer stein.

When the Greeks find out they can not work twenty hours a week from age 30 to 50 they will riot burn down a bank or two with the staff still in it. When this new group runs out of money to appease them and all of the bad thing predicted for next week (without this agreement) will happen. Only difference every country in the group will be broke from trying to appease them.
09:44 December 11, 2011 by Englishted

Look out it is a red herring .

"Germany keeps door open for outcast Brits" The Local

"Only Britain has categorically ruled out joining, unless special exemptions are made to protect the financial sector."

If I am not mistaken the U.K. is the second biggest contributor to the E.U. with Germany the first so be careful what you wish for as it may come true.
22:41 December 11, 2011 by sparki
interestingly in todays Sunday papers in the uk, 50% of the population now want to exit the EU completely, only 33% want to stay in. 70% agreed Mr Cameron did the right thing to say no.
10:15 December 12, 2011 by AlexR

"Tempest in a teapot or maybe a beer stein.

When the Greeks find out they can not work twenty hours a week from age 30 to 50 they will riot burn down a bank or two with the staff still in it."

And when ignorance hits the fan, it produces stereotypes.

Could you point me to any *official* source to back up your numbers? I doubt if you could find any. And you won't find any because the data from official sources like the OECD and Eurostat draw the complete opposite picture.

- Greeks work less? Rather the opposite. According to OECD, they have the *highest* working hours in Europe with 2119 hours per year. Who has the lowest? The Netherlands (1378h) and Germany (1390h). Full data here:


- Greeks retire early? According to Eurostat, the average exit age from labour force is *higher* in Greece than the EU average of 60.9 years. Greeks retire at 61.7 years, Germans at 61.3 and the French at 58.8 years.


Oops! Here goes your argument.
19:37 December 17, 2011 by leuteleute
Englisted ,Britain is not second contributor plus Britain got a rebate of their contribution to the EU.

Britain is the fifth highest contributor to the EU budget, with £6.7  billion, beaten by France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Today's headlines
Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd