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EU Takes Further Steps to Promote Growth, Budget Discipline

At a summit in Brussels Monday, European Union leaders agreed to sign a treaty to enforce budget discipline in the eurozone and took several new steps designed to stimulate economic growth.

The new treaty, known as the fiscal compact, sets strict rules for government budgets and imposes sanctions on countries that breach EU budget deficit limits. All EU Member States — except Britain and the Czech Republic — agreed to sign the treaty.

“The Treaty is all about more responsibility and better surveillance,” said President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy. “Every country that signs it commits to bringing in a ‘debt brake’ or ‘golden rule’ into its own legislation, and will do so at constitutional or equivalent level.”

EU leaders also pledged to stimulate economic growth with programs that help small businesses, break down overall business barriers, and a focus on job creation for young people.

“We need to do more in concrete terms to create better conditions for growth,” explained President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso. “And precisely since there is not so much fiscal space for stimulus, because there is no fiscal space in our Member States, we should concentrate on the structural reforms that can unleash the growth potential of Europe.”

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> More results from the informal summit