European states sign new fiscal treaty

BRUSSELS (AP) -- The leaders of 25 European states have signed a new treaty designed to prevent the 17 euro countries from running up huge debts in order to prevent a repeat of the current crisis afflicting the single currency zone.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, who oversaw the drafting of the accord, said the treaty will bring an "economic and monetary union that is finally walking on two legs."

Of the 27 European Union states, only Britain and the Czech Republic decided not to sign the treaty.

The eurozone's heads of state and government hope the accord will help them overcome a two-year debt crisis.

However, now all signatories have to ratify the new treaty at home -- a process that may prove difficult in some places. Ireland has already called a referendum.

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