"27-member Europe is finished," headlinesLe Monde, in the wake of the agreement concluded in Brussels by the 17 Eurozone states and six other European countries.

Faced with British Prime Minister’s "bluff" that he would impose a veto on any reform of European treaties, the 17 Eurozone states "wearily decided to close ranks without him, in a bid to put an end to the crisis that has rocked the monetary union: between now and March 2012, they have agreed to negotiate an intergovernmental treaty, the option privileged by Nicolas Sarkozy, to ensure that the budgetary discipline demanded Angela Merkel is set in stone," reports the French daily.

For Le Monde, the agreement, which will pave the way for the reform of the treaty that regulates the manner in which the 27-member EU operates, constitutes:

A choice with major consequences, that will bring about the emergence of a two-speed Europe, from which the United Kingdom may be increasingly excluded by core Eurozone countries guided for better or for worse by Germany and France, the two main economies of the monetary union.

Le Monde remarks that the exclusion of the United Kingdom, however painful it may be, is a salutary and, all things considered, logical decision:

The British do not believe in the European idea. They are alien to this project, which is currently bogged down, but which appears to be more necessary than ever: to forge a single entity that will be able to exist as such among the other powers of the 21st century.

We should have no regrets about what happened in Brussels. The ambiguity about the role of Britain has been cleared up: deep down, the British, who joined what was the European Economic Community in 1973, are only interested in one aspect of Europe — the single market — while they have remained indifferent, if not hostile, to the rest of the European project.