Europe ministers fail to agree on bank rules

Ministers will make a fresh attempt to break the impasse at a meeting on Wednesday.

Written by Reuters | Luxembourg | Published: June 22, 2013 2:03:38 am

Europe failed to agree on how to share the cost of bank collapses on Saturday,as Germany resisted attempts by France to water down rules designed to spare taxpayers in future crises.

Almost 20 hours of talks late into the night could not forge a way for countries to set up an EU-wide regime that would first impose losses on shareholders and bondholders when a bank fails,followed by depositors with more than euro 100,000.

Ministers will make a fresh attempt to break the impasse at a meeting on Wednesday,on the eve of an EU leaders summit,and resolve one of the most difficult questions posed by Europe’s banking crisis — how to shut failed banks without sowing panic or burdening taxpayers.

“I think we can reach a deal if we take a few more days,” said Michel Barnier,the European commissioner in charge of regulation. “We are not far off now from a political agreement.”

The EU spent the equivalent of a third of its economic output on saving its banks between 2008 and 2011,using taxpayer cash but struggling to contain the crisis and — in the case of Ireland — almost bankrupting the country.

At the heart of the disagreement,chiefly between Germany and France,was how much leeway countries should have when imposing losses on bondholders or large savers,a procedure known as “bail-in”.

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