EU’s Schulz Urges Samaras to Accelerate Bank-Failure Bill Talks

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras faces calls from the European Parliament to use his country’s presidency of the European Union to accelerate work on a bank-failure bill for the euro area.

Martin Schulz, the EU parliament’s president, wrote to Samaras today urging him to accelerate proceedings, as “time is running out” to broker an accord before elections in May. Nations should hold urgent talks to identify possible compromises on the bill, possibly by holding an extraordinary meeting of the bloc’s finance ministers, Schulz wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Bloomberg News.

The plans for a Single Resolution Mechanism to handle stricken euro-area banks must be agreed on by national governments and by the parliament to take effect. The assembly has “deep concerns on the lack of progress” made so far, which it puts down to Greece being given insufficient margin of maneuver to strike deals with the assembly, Schulz wrote.

The SRM is a key part of a flagship EU project to pool responsibility for banks and prevent future financial crises. Parliament negotiators are at loggerheads with governments over the measures, warning that the blueprint agreed on by ministers would take too long to come to fruition and is too complicated to ensure quick decisions.

Nations shouldn’t wait until EU finance ministers hold their next scheduled meeting in Brussels on Feb. 18 to give Greece a more flexible negotiating mandate, Schulz wrote.

For parliament to adopt any deal before the elections, “an agreement has to be concluded by mid-March,” he wrote. “We cannot afford to lose any more time.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Brunsden in Brussels at jbrunsden@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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