European Union nations — except Britain and the Czech Republic — have agreed to sign a treaty to enforce budget discipline in the Eurozone. European leaders meeting in Brussels Monday also promised to stimulate growth and create jobs.

Philip Reeves
In a few minutes, we're going to hear about how wealth and debt in Europe flowed from the invention of banks. In Florence, Italy, merchants came up with the banking system that encouraged international trade at the dawn of the Renaissance. These days, of course, a debt crisis has wiped out many European banks, forced countries to seek bailouts, and toppled governments. So let's go first to NPR's Philip Reeves in Brussels for an update on the latest gathering of European leaders hoping to solve or at least stem the debt crisis. So what, if anything, did they achieve in this gathering yesterday? Well, they took a step along the difficult and politically perilous path to European fiscal union. There are 27 countries in the EU and all but two have now agreed to a treaty that's designed to shore up the Euro by making the countries that use that currency obey much stricter rules. For example, there will be penalties for nations that break deficit limits. Those countries will lose a degree of sovereignty, but they seem to think it's worthwhile if it means Europe will avoid another catastrophe.