One of the German Social Democrat opposition leaders, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, also told the Bundestag that the summit had been a failure. “The fiscal pact is only an illusory giant ”” from far away it looks very big but if you come close, the breakthrough is really very small,” he said. “We used to have a debt crisis but after the summit we added a veritable constitutional crisis. What we have now is more instability and a further complicated structure in Europe.”Adding to signs of the economic damage, the respected Ifo Institute cut its forecast for German growth in 2012 by half to 0.4 per cent and warned Europe’s biggest economy could slide into recession if the debt turmoil is not quelled.
In theory the incipient rescue plan is supported by 26 European nations, with Britain the only exception. But other countries outside the eurozone have also cast doubts, saying they do not yet know if they can fully sign up. Earlier this week Petr Necas, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, said that the deal was “not much more than a blank sheet of paper”.
Michael Noonan, Ireland’s Finance Minister, said on a visit to London yesterday that Ireland may need to hold a referendum on the EU treaty, pointing to barriers within the euro area itself.
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