German Greens leader backs Brussels on bank resolution
BERLIN Aug 19 (Reuters) - German Greens leader Juergen Trittin has come out in favour of giving the European Commission new powers to shut down failing banks, accusing Angela Merkel's government of deliberately undermining such plans with faulty legal arguments.
Trittin is seen as a possible finance minister if the Greens make it into government after a Sept. 22 parliamentary election.
Polls suggest they are unlikely to win enough votes to be able to form a centre-left coalition with their traditional partners, the Social Democrats (SPD). But there is a small chance they could link up with Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) if she fails to win a centre-right majority next month and the SPD refuses to enter a "grand coalition" with the CDU.
In July, the Commission outlined plans to set up an agency to rescue or close down failing euro zone banks, the second pillar of a so-called "banking union" aimed at severing the link between struggling banks and sovereign states.
However, Merkel's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has raised doubts about the legality of such a move, arguing that it cannot happen without changes to the EU's Lisbon treaty, a cumbersome political process which could take years.
Trittin, speaking to the foreign press association (VAP) in Berlin, dismissed Schaeuble's reservations and suggested Merkel's government was just looking for ways to retain a national veto over bank closures.
"We are of the clear view that the European Commission, and not national governments, should have the right to wind down ailing banks," Trittin said.
He pointed to the case of Bankia, nationalised by the Spanish government last year after its property exposures turned bad, as proof that bank resolution decisions should be taken out of national hands. (Reporting by Reinhard Becker; Writing by Noah Barkin; Editing by Erik Kirschbaum)