The European leaders’ meeting in Brussels yesterday will likely fail to reassure the financial markets. First, the intergovernmental agreement on stricter budget controls among the members of the eurozone will still have to be approved by national parliaments and could potentially face legal challenges in one or more countries. Second, there is no guarantee that the agreed penalties for countries that run excessive budget deficits are either enforceable or sufficiently onerous to limit government spending. Third, the European leaders failed to make progress on the most important issue facing the EU economies—slow growth. Indeed, it is difficult to see how EU leaders—many of whom backed higher taxes and support more regulation—can be trusted to do anything useful to spur economic growth and private sector job creation in Europe.
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