By Ray Fleming

WAS it the “Big Bazooka” everyone wanted? Hardly. Jose Manuel Barroso, EU Commission president, cautiously told the European parliament yesterday that Wednesday's night's deal “brought us closer to solving the debt crisis”. In Britain, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne was more positive, saying it had “made very good progress on key issues”.

Yesterday the world markets responded positively while pointing out that, as usual, “the devil is in the detail”. The most worrying reaction came from those who predicted that the three-part deal reached after ten hours of negotiation would do no more than “buy time” until the next crisis flares up -- perhaps in three or four weeks. The pros and cons of the agreement will be better discussed when some of the missing details are provided. Meanwhile, a quite different issue has emerged. If, as seems likely, the price of this settlement for the 17 members of the eurozone is going to be central control of their budgets and economic policies, will this not inevitably lead to a separate fiscal union within the 25-member EU? And if it does, will it not also lead the remaining eight, with Britain among them, to create their own distinctive club? In short, in saving Greece, will the EU as a whole cease to exist in its present form. Will Britain's eurosceptics win without having to fight the battle?


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