BRUSSELS, Oct 19 (Reuters) - European Union leaders agreed a single supervisor will take responsibility for overseeing euro zone banks from next year.
But the leaders, who met on Thursday and Friday, left for another time the details on the precise number of banks to be monitored and the powers to be given to the supervisor -- the European Central Bank.
Following are comments by EU leaders and officials after the talks:
“We will then, and that is a further building block, when we have a bank supervisor and want a direct recapitalisation, then one must naturally have a resolution fund for banks that has contributions from banks.”
“The Spanish banks have a capital need that has been specified. The Spanish banks have a programme for recapitalisation that has been agreed. There won’t be any retroactive bank recapitalisation. When the recapitalisation is possible then it will be possible for the future afterwards. When the bank supervisor is installed, I think that we won’t have a problem with the Spanish banks, that’s at least my hope.”
”I believe that we need tighter coordination on economic policy. I have developed ideas for this. There should be binding agreements between the European Commission and countries on the basis of country specific recommendations....
”The plans... are not for five or 10 years. Their introduction is for the same time-frame, in my view, as the plans for a bank supervisor.
“They are all elements of stronger coordination in economic and monetary union. All these pillars must be introduced in the same time-frame.”
“We sent a message of confidence and unity.”
“We’re offering to the rest of the world credibility and confidence.”
“The decision is not taken yet. What is important is that if I need to take it, I will take it.”
“The instrument is there. That is very important to have this instrument, that this instrument exists. Some months ago the instrument didn’t exist but now it exists. The fact that it exists is very good. It is there and it can be activated. But right now, the decision is not taken yet. When it will be taken, I will communicate it to you.”
“What I want, my objective, is that after the Greeks have made a lot of effort and the coalition government of (Greek Prime Minister Antonis) Samaras has made a commitment, I want this to be quickly decided so that expecting funds can be quickly disbursed in the coming weeks after the (ECB/IMF) troika’s report. The question of Greece’s presence in the euro zone should no longer be asked.”
”The discussion between the troika and Greece is in its final phase. The position we adopted... during the night, was to state that progress has been made. There are still some clarifications awaited but the process is going in the right direction and the future of Greece is in the euro zone.
“I had a meeting with the Greek prime minister. We agreed I would make a visit there but a date has not yet been fixed. The sign which I wish to send is a sign of confidence in Greece and the conclusion which must be brought to the discussions once the troika’s report is presented.”
“Yesterday we decided the implementation of banking union with major deadline of Jan. 1 for finalising and implementing of the legal framework. It should allow banking supervision to establish the its institutions, leading to its activation and allowing the direct recapitalisation of banks in 2013.”
“If euro zone countries decide to seek resources for the actions which concern them, it is not a substitution, it’s an addition.”
“No country can prevent the euro zone from moving ahead as it wishes.”
“There are today 10 countries which have made a request (to start the tax). Reinforced cooperation has therefore been accepted by the European Commission.”
”Am I happy with the status quo in Europe? No I am not, I think there are changes that we need. As the euro zone develops and integrates, which is bound to happen, I think there are opportunities opening for what I have said should be a new settlement between Britain and Europe and there will be opportunities to seek that new settlement and then get fresh consent for that settlement and I am keen to do that.
”But I don’t accept this idea that somehow Britain doesn’t pull its weight in the EU - we are actually a very important and influential player.
“If you look at the text of today’s conclusions, for instance, so much of it is actually about what Britain wants on the single market and deregulation.”
”I’ve always been clear that leaving the European Union is not in our national interest... chiefly because we are a trading nation, we need Europe’s markets to be open, the EU accounts for about 50 percent of our trade.
“Having those markets open means we don’t just want to be able to trade with Europe, we want a say over the rules.”
”We’ve been discussing a banking union. That is a fresh settlement for the euro zone. They want to have, I would argue they need to have, a big, comprehensive banking union.
”I don’t accept that the EU as it is is fixed and stuck in one track. It is changing.
”Two of the things we have been discussing in the last day or so, and night, and early morning, the European budget and this idea that the euro zone might need to have a separate budget that is now on the table - that is a massive change, that is a new settlement.
”This whole issue of the banking union and how you safeguard properly the single market if the countries of the euro zone go ahead into a banking union, again this is about the plates of Europe moving and changing.
“And the right thing for Britain to do is to say what is in our national interest. And I would argue that it is to be at the heart of the single market - that is absolutely key.”
ON BRITAIN‘S ROLE IN EU NEGOTIATIONS:
“I have a reputation for being frank and plain speaking in Europe. If I don’t like something, I say so. When we were here last December and everyone wanted a treaty and said this is absolutely essential that we have an EU treaty and there weren’t safeguards for Britain. I said no, I‘m not having it, I‘m vetoing the treaty. Everyone has to defend their national interest.”
”I think it would be good to have a deal, it’s good to settle these issues, but it just would not be acceptable to see some huge increase in EU spending at a time when other budgets are being cut.
“So the British public expects a tough approach, a rigorous approach and that’s exactly what they’ll get, and if we can’t get a deal, there’s no point doing a deal that’s a bad deal, if there isn’t a deal that’s good for Britain, if there isn’t a deal that’s available, then there won’t be a deal.”
“We are against it because we say a framework plan must be made for the whole European Union.”
”If we want to use the budget to fight youth unemployment or boost education, why should we say it’s only for the euro zone? It’s necessary in all EU countries.
“Austria has a particularly close economic relationship with the new EU countries. What’s the sense of intentionally reducing and restricting it to the euro zone?”
“I consider it unnecessary. I think we should rather put together a proper framework plan that will solve these problems that are already difficult. All the important agreed projects should remain and in addition there should at last be emphasis put on this high unemployment and this shocking youth unemployment. We’ll need plenty of means for that. And if we do concentrate on this, it should be for the whole European Union. We’re getting the Nobel peace prize for the whole European Union, not for the euro zone.”