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EU’s Barnier Says Open to Compromise on Bank Resolution Law

Michel Barnier, the European Union’s financial-services chief, said he’s open to compromise on plans for winding down stricken euro-area banks, in a bid to overcome German-led attacks on the proposal.

“What matters is that the system chosen functions effectively and will be workable,” Barnier told reporters today in London.

Areas open for discussion include the role the European Commission should play in the system, safeguards for non-euro nations that choose to participate and guarantees that governments won’t be railroaded into decisions that affect their public finances, Barnier said.

The Single Resolution Mechanism proposal is part of a euro-area effort to break the financial links between sovereigns and banks by centralizing oversight and crisis management of failing lenders. The blueprint, presented in July, has met with a barrage of complaints from governments, though most agree that a deal should be reached on a version of the blueprint by the end of this year.

An accord between governments by year-end is “difficult and possible,” Barnier said.

While changes can be made to the proposals, the scope of the system shouldn’t be limited to only the biggest lenders, Barnier said.

“The cases in which resolution may be necessary are not necessarily the biggest banks. If, for example, you were just to deal with big cross-border banks, you wouldn’t have necessarily included in your scope Dexia or Bankia,” he said, in reference to two bank failures in the bloc since the eruption of the financial crisis.

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