Ian Wishart, European Voice
Rules aimed at establishing tougher fiscal discipline in the eurozone [came] into force [today] (1 January).
The inter-governmental treaty on stability, co-ordination and governance, known as the fiscal compact, is aimed at imposing stricter controls on national spending in the eurozone.
The agreement, which lies outside the main European Union treaties because of opposition from the UK, needed ratification by 12 of the eurozone's 17 countries before it could come into effect.
It has been ratified by Austria, Cyprus, Germany, Estonia, Spain, France Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Finland and Slovenia as well as four non-eurozone countries which want to be bound by the new rules: Denmark, Latvia, Romania and Lithuania.
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Fiscal compact comes into force