Eurozone Banking Union: Ministers Meet In Brussels To Speed Up Plans

Euro Zone ministers met in Brussels today to discuss plans for a banking union.

At the meeting France, Spain and Portugal called for quick progress on the issue while Germany pointed out that treaty change might be needed before plans could be completed.

Under the plan, the biggest banks will be supervised by the European Central Bank from the middle of next year. There is also to be a single bank resolution mechanism that would wind down insolvent banks and a common deposit guarantee scheme.

But while the ECB bank supervision looks set to take effect as planned, the single authority that would order and finance the closure of a bank is unlikely to materialise soon, because Germany believes it needs a change to the EU treaty.

The issue is divisive because a change to the European Union treaty could take years and entails risks — the revised law could be rejected in one of the 27 national EU parliaments during ratification.

Some policy-makers believe Germany is demanding treaty change to push the discussion on bank resolution back until after its parliamentary elections in September, in which Chancellor Angela Merkel will have to deal with rising popular discontent with bailing out euro zone banks and governments.