June 19, 2013
Barroso seeks EU banking union
A banking union giving a cross-border agency supervisory powers over major lenders in all EU states could be enacted by next year, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso was quoted as saying.
The EU needed to take a "very big step" towards deeper integration if it was to learn the lessons of the sovereign debt crisis, he told the Financial Times in an interview.
The plan would also include a regional deposit guarantee scheme and a rescue fund paid for by levies on financial institutions. It could be implemented by 2013 without changes to the bloc's treaties, Barroso said.
Mindful of the deepening debt crisis that at the weekend saw Spain become the fourth euro zone state to seek international aid, EU leaders are hoping to develop a road map to "fiscal union" at a June 28-29 summit.
Top EU officials will present initial proposals at the meeting, and countries would then put the meat on the bones of the plan in the second half of 2012, several European sources have told Reuters.
Barroso's conviction that such reforms could then be fast-tracked contrasted with the view of Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, who said on Monday that surrendering more economic sovereignty in the name of deeper cooperation was a medium-term project.
Barroso told the FT he believed there was greater appreciation in London and Berlin about the need for an EU-wide banking regime, though he said Britain should be allowed to opt out of such plans if it did not block their progress.
Britain says it will not join a banking union supervised by the EU or making it liable for recapitalising euro zone banks.
Germany argues that major financial reforms within the bloc would require EU treaty changes.