26 of the 27 EU countries reached a delicate settlement last Friday, agreeing to institute binding limits of national budgets and borrowing, as well as strict penalties for those who cross the spending limit. The only European Union country to discard the plan was Great Britain.
According to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the deal is “a great step toward a stable Europe” as well as a primary piece in both the political and monetary integration and reshaping of Europe. Though the plan was constructed with the help of Merkel, however, she made an effort to emphasize that the deal is not going to be a quick solution. She highlighted that it will need to be executed “step by step” and that it would take a number of years.
This point is already apparent as at least eight of the approving countries now need approval from their own parliaments. This process will take a minimum of several months. Though such delays are obviously necessary, they open discussions on whether or not the timeline will satisfy individuals, corporations or entire economies who are already struggling to remain afloat. Asia, European and North American markets have responded with mixed reviews of the agreement. The most optimistic response came from the New York Stock Exchange.