BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU leaders gave their stamp of approval to a deal on bank supervision intended to help in ending three years of crisis, but they differed widely over the next steps for the euro currency union.
The leaders were to resume talks later on Friday for the second day of their last summit for 2012.
Following are comments after the first day of talks:
“This evening we decided to put in place a single resolution mechanism.”
”...The creation of a single supervisory mechanism is a major step forward towards the financial integration of the euro area. It will help strengthen confidence and, in the medium term, will help restore... rebuild the interbank markets.
“The way it’s been conceived will ensure a separation between monetary policy and supervision.”
Following are earlier comments ahead of the talks:
”Since the summer, we have made a lot of progress in our efforts to overcome the immediate crisis in the euro zone. The worst is now behind us, but of course much still needs to be done.
”I‘m very pleased that our 27 finance ministers reached an agreement early this morning on a single supervisory mechanism for banks. We had asked for this agreement at our last meeting; our ministers delivered.
”This agreement is a real milestone in the strengthening of our economic and monetary union. It will contribute to more stability, which in itself is a major contribution in our fight for growth and jobs.
“Our objective for today is to map out our next steps towards a genuine economic and monetary union. We must implement our agenda on competitiveness and on growth.”
“I am very pleased, because this shows the political will to underline the irreversibility of the euro. Nobody was talking of a banking union just a few months ago. This gives certainty, we’ve worked very hard for this.”
“I think the majority of Spanish banks will fall under ECB supervision, about 95 percent of our banking system. This is very good, because it gives certainty to both investors and depositors.”
“I hope we can one day approve this, it certainly interests me a lot, a fiscal capacity. It would not be operational any time soon, but it does make sense and sooner or later it will be a reality.”
”I don’t think this is a fully-fledged banking union. I think it is now structured like a banking supervision.
“We can welcome that, but to have a full-fledged banking union you need to answer the question what to do with failing banks, and the suggestions of that will come from the (European) Commission later in the spring...”
”I‘m satisfied that within the treaties we have now been given influence as well, the countries that do not have the euro as a currency, and I think that that enables us to say to others to form this supervision....
“To start with Sweden will stay outside. Because our main concern is related to how you deal with failing banks. Swedish taxpayers and Swedish well-run banks do not want to cover losses in other countries’ banking systems.”
”There is a reference to fiscal capacity as a budget mechanism for the euro zone lands. I think this is wrong. We already have an EU budget and resources exist to handle problems with the job market, for example...
“I think it is good that we’ll get a European banking supervision mechanism that restores confidence to those countries whose national supervision has lost believability.”
“It’s a good day for Europe. Since the summit at the end of June, we have made progress and solved these problems and the Greece problem, which has been discussed for so many months, and the question of a banking union. The crisis came from the banks, and mechanisms have been put in place that will mean nothing is as it was before.”
“We will also agree on the coordination on economic policies and growth. Also, on the control of deficits, it’s possible that we could take up a proposal from (Italian Prime Minister) Mario Monti, which would allow investments for the future to be considered outside deficits as regarded by the European Commission.”
“The European Union and the euro zone need a banking union, but Britain won’t be part of this banking union.”
”Britain is not in the euro and Britain’s not going to join the euro, so it won’t be part of that integration that’s taking place (because of the euro).
“But this change taking place does give us the opportunity to argue for the things that we want to do and get a better deal for Britain.”
”I‘m pleased that Greece is getting the aid tranche that it needed so urgently. Greece made big efforts to secure this aid.
“Secondly, it is a good signal that the finance ministers reached an agreement on banking supervision. That is a big step towards more trust and confidence in the euro zone.”
”Our talks will be focused above all on strengthening economic coordination. We will set out a roadmap for the coming months. Overall, I’d like to say at the end of 2012 that we have achieved a lot. It was a strenuous year, but it was also a year in which we made big progress.
”We have a solidarity fund with the ESM (bailout fund), we have the fiscal compact on budget consolidation.
“But we have lots more work, getting the banking supervision up and running by 2014, and economic coordination, so that we can boost competitiveness in the euro zone.”
“The first step to banking union is proper supervision and that is already something worthwhile. I don’t expect us to agree on the shape of the European Union for the next 20 years, but it will be good to have a real discussion about how we can work more closely and better together.”
Reporting by Mark John, Robin Emmott, Ethan Bilby, Barbara Lewis, Noah Barkin and Sebastian Moffett; compiled by Rex Merrifield