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Barnier Says No More Political Talks on Basel Law in 2012

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Michel Barnier, the European Union’s financial services chief, said no further political negotiations are scheduled this year on implementing Basel bank capital rules in the bloc.

“Technical talks” on how to put in place the so-called Basel III rules will continue this year, Barnier said on the sidelines of a conference in Brussels today. The U.K. today called for further talks on draft agreements including curbs on banker bonuses, according to two people familiar with the talks.

The legislation would implement an international overhaul of bank rules agreed on in 2010 by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. The “major stumbling blocks” in the negotiations are how much flexibility should be given to national regulators to set tougher capital rules than required by the EU, and what capital surcharges should be set for banks considered too big to fail, Philippe Lamberts, a Green group lawmaker, said last week.

The U.K. today urged further discussions on draft agreements on the law brokered last week by Cyprus, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, and European Parliament lawmakers, said the two people, who couldn’t be named because the meeting was private. Other nations also called for changes to tentative agreements on the law, they said.

A spokesman for the U.K. government’s representation to the EU declined to comment.

Cypriot officials reached a provisional deal with lawmakers on Dec. 13 to ban banker bonuses that are more than double annual salaries.

The accord would cap a banker’s bonus at the same level as fixed salary, while giving room for larger awards with shareholder approval. A maximum limit would be set forbidding awards of more than twice fixed pay.

Barnier said today there’s possibility that political-level meetings may resume this year if the technical discussions go well.

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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