BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe divided in a historic rift on Friday over building a closer fiscal union to preserve the euro, with a large majority of countries led by Germany and France agreeing to forge ahead with a separate treaty, leaving Britain isolated.
Following are highlights of comments by EU leaders and other top officials after the end of their two-day meeting.
EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT HERMAN VAN ROMPUY ON EURO ZONE TREATY:
"It is unfortunate that we missed that chance to have a full-fledged treaty change."
"This treaty will be open to non-euro zone countries. Except for one, all are considering participation."
"We took important decisions to safeguard the euro zone, both short term and medium term.
"The 17 member states of the euro zone and already many others are committed to a new fiscal compact, a new European fiscal rule to be transposed in national legislation.
"It is about more fiscal discipline, more automatic sanctions, stricter surveillance. An intergovernmental treaty will make this agreement binding."
ON BINDING NATURE OF TREATY:
"This formula has some handicaps, but we will try to overcome them, and I think we will need a large interpretation of the role of institutions and others, as we did it in the past.
"So I think that there is also a very clear political message to the outside world, that even if we have not all the legal instruments of enforcement, that via an intergovernmental treaty, we will be as binding... as possible."
"Work will now begin to rapidly flesh out the details of this new treaty. The Commission will be acting to ensure swift preparation of the treaty that is fully compatible with European Union law, and which also preserves the role of the European institutions."