European official calls for bank bail-in from 2016-magazine

FRANKFURT, Oct 20 (Reuters) - The head of the Eurogroup Working Group has proposed an earlier start of ‘bail-in’ arrangements which force bondholders to share losses in a bank failure, in a bid to win over German concerns over creating a banking union, a magazine reported.

Thomas Wiesner suggested to the group of European negotiators that ‘bail-in’ rules should come into effect from 2016, German weekly Der Spiegel reported on Sunday.

His proposal was received well at the meeting, the magazine said.

The ‘bail-in’ rules, which are due to come into effect in 2018, are part of euro zone plans to unify and strengthen the supervision and support of banks across the bloc, known as banking union.

European governments, which bailed out dozens of banks with billions of euros of state aid after the financial crisis, want to avoid costly future rescues.

The acceleration of the plans could help persuade Germany, which has called for a 2015 deadline, to agree to a European bank resolution scheme - the second pillar of the banking union, the magazine reported.

Berlin does not want a new agency in Brussels or elsewhere which has powers to overrule its own national authorities on the issue of whether to save or close an ailing bank.

It also opposes any fund that requires it to pick up part of the bill if, for example, a bank in Spain ran aground.

According to a separate media report, Mario Draghi, European Central Bank head, wrote to the European Commission last month asking that bondholders be spared any losses in the event of a bank rescue until a Europe-wide banking union is fully operational.

The Eurogroup Working Group comprises mainly deputy finance ministers and senior treasury officials. It helps prepare the discussions of the Eurogroup, a meeting of finance ministers of countries whose currency is the euro.