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EU on Track to Reach Bank-Failure Deal This Year, Wieser Says

The European Union’s 28 member states are on track to reach an agreement on bank resolution by the end of 2013, said Thomas Wieser, the official in charge of preparing meetings of euro-area finance ministers.

“We will, I’m quite sure, come to a conclusion on the Single Resolution Mechanism which will not be perfect, but I think will lead us into the direction of actually integrating over time in a next step much much more in the euro area,” Wieser said at a conference in Frankfurt today.

A report from an EU high-level working group, led by Bank of Finland Governor Erkki Liikanen, has been “languishing in some drawers in Brussels and other capitals,” Wieser said.

“There has been no succinct communication on what Europe proposes to do as a follow-up, and in the meantime, several member states have started preparing or even implementing such rules which will lead to a tremendously uneven playing field,” he said. “In a true banking union this should not happen and it could not happen.”

Wieser said he hoped the EU would take “decisive action” on the report’s recommendations in late 2014. When asked why the report was on ice, Wieser said: “It’s like with marriages, there are some who want to be separated and others who don’t want to be separated. And at present the non-divorcees appear to be the stronger” voices.

“We will by no means in a year’s time be where we should be,” Wieser said. “That is something that is of special concern in this country here. In reality I think we are lacking a very robust legal basis within the treaty, or a treaty.”

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