• France's Pierre Moscovici (l) and Germany's Wolfgang Schaueble will be under pressure to bridge the gap on banking union this week. (Photo: Council of European Union)


Banking union tops agenda for ministers this WEEK

09.12.13 @ 09:29

  1. By Benjamin Fox
  2. Benjamin email

BRUSSELS - Eurozone finance ministers will meet on Monday (9 December) in Brussels with progress on the latest stage of banking union topping the agenda.

With Ireland and Spain exiting their programmes in the coming days and weeks, and no progress on the Troika's latest review of Greece, bailouts will, for once, not be on the table.

But ministers are now edging closer to their self-imposed Christmas deadline to reach agreement on the proposed single resolution mechanism for eurozone banks.

The idea is to create a single rulebook for winding up insolvent institutions and a single authority tasked with overseeing it.

Deputies on the European Parliament's economic affairs committee adopted their own position on the text in November in a bid to keep up the pressure on governments as the weeks count down to next May's European elections and the end of the current legislative term.

But German government is heading up a group of countries anxious to avoid the resolution authority itself being tied to the European Commission, potentially giving the EU's executive arm control over the regime.

Germany is also keen to avoid the creation of a single fund, potentially backed by the EU's bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, to cover the costs of a bank rescue. MEPs want to set up a "public loan facility" to provide a credit line to both national and European funds.

In the meantime, MEPs and ministers hope to finally close a deal on the bank resolution and recovery directive which is on the brink of completion.

The legislation, which would apply to all 28 EU countries, sets out the hierarchy of creditors to be 'bailed-in' in the event of a bank crisis. Shareholders and bondholders would be first in line, with savers last in the queue.

In Strasbourg, meanwhile, MEPs will gather for their final plenary session of the year.

Headlining an otherwise quiet week, the parliament is expected to sign off on an overhaul of the common fisheries policy on Tuesday (10 December), including changes to the controversial practice of throwing unwanted catch back into the sea.

Deputies will also vote again on whether to accept a fisheries agreement negotiated by the EU with Morocco.

Elsewhere, the parliament will give its final approval to legislation reforming Europe's mortgage market, while MEPs will also debate the EU's possible response to the collapse of talks to increase economic ties with Ukraine.

Employment ministers will also be in Brussels on Tuesday with talks on the proposed revision to the posted workers directive expected to top the agenda.


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