European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has circulated a first draft of the new fiscal compact - the international agreement accepted by eurozone leaders at last week's summit.

The draft says the compact would enter into force if any nine countries ratify it, with other countries joining when they are ready.

British officials earlier said they would take part in "technical discussions" on the new arrangements, despite Prime Minister David Cameron blocking plans a new EU treaty at last week's Brussels summit.

The move was agreed last night in a phone call between Mr Cameron and Mr Van Rompuy.

It is likely to be seen as an olive branch to the 26 other EU member states and to Mr Cameron's Liberal Democrat coalition partners.

A Downing St spokesman said Mr Cameron wants the new fiscal agreement to succeed and find the right way forward that ensures the EU institutions fulfil their role as guardian of the EU treaty.

The Fiscal compact - or International Agreement on a Reinforced Economic Union - aims to develop "ever closer co-ordination of economic policies within the Euro area", and so promote conditions for stronger economic growth.

Mr Van Rompuy said he will call another summit early next year to try and get leaders to sign off on the new agreement. To facilitate this, the agreement states that it will come into force when nine member states of the Euro Area have ratified it.

Other states will join the agreement as and when they ratify it.

As this agreement is not an EU treaty, there is no requirement on the contracting parties (ie the member states) to wait for all states to ratify.

According to the draft text of the treaty sent to national governments by Mr Van Rompuy on Friday, the key problem of economic co-ordination is the need to stop government deficits getting so big they threaten the stability of the euro area as a whole.

It proposes specific rules to address this problem, including the need to take "corrective action" when necessary.

The fiscal compact cannot change the treaties of the European Union. Instead it aims to work within them by getting the countries that use the Euro as their national currency to do some things together, such as drawing up a balanced budget rule and inserting it into their national constitutions or budget laws.

In Ireland the government has already announced an intention to do this in the "fiscal responsibility bill", which is due to be laid before the Oireachtas by March.

Fitch reviewing credit ratings of six countries

Fitch Ratings said this evening that it was reviewing the credit ratings of six eurozone countries, including Spain and Italy, warning that their credit scores could be downgraded.

Placing Belgium, Spain, Slovenia, Italy, Ireland and Cyprus on Ratings Watch Negative "indicates that the above ratings are under active review and are subject to a heightened probability of downgrade in the near-term," said Fitch.

Last night, the head of the International Monetary Fund warned that Europe's debt crisis would not be solved by Europe alone.

Speaking in Washington, Christine Lagarde called on all countries to work together to avoid a 1930s-style depression.

Ms Lagarde said the current crisis was not one that will be resolved by one group of countries taking action.