The conclusion of the Brussels summit seemed to bring the lingering crisis of the Euro and the European economies a big step closer toward a resolution. All the key players could declare victory: French President Nicolas Sarkozy has protected the large French banks from exposure to southern European sovereign debt; German Chancellor Angela Merkel has succeeded in establishing the expectation of disciplined budgeting; and even British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose principles or recalcitrance—depending on your perspective—has led to the United Kingdom’s isolation within Europe, was able to return to London to the applause of the many Euroskeptics in his party and the public at large.
Of course, in all countries, there are significant oppositional voices. The Brussels agreement has contributed to tensions within the German ruling coalition because of very realistic concerns that Germany will end up footing the bill for its spendthrift neighbors. The post-summit worries are surely most articulate in Britain, where critics fear that the UK is sliding out of the European community and toward international irrelevance.