EU Weighs 2014 Start Date for Basel Bank Rules Beset by Delays

The European Union is weighing a Jan. 1, 2014, date for the gradual phase-in of Basel capital rules, as the bloc struggles to agree on how to apply a global accord designed to bolster defenses against future banking collapses.

The EU may also give bank regulators until the end of next January to devise technical details fleshing out parts of the so-called Basel III requirements, according to a document drawn up by Ireland’s EU presidency and obtained by Bloomberg News.

The international bank rules have been beset by delays as regulators across the world ponder how best to implement the measures, which more than triple the core capital lenders must hold and set standards for how lenders should manage risks. The EU, like the U.S., missed the start-of-the-year deadline to begin applying parts of the Basel III package.

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the international group that drew up the standards, agreed last month to delay and water down another key part of the package designed to ensure banks have enough easy-to-sell assets in a crisis.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s financial services chief, said yesterday that the EU and U.S. should implement the Basel measures in parallel, starting in the “first weeks of 2014.”

The EU’s implementing law is being negotiated by the European Parliament and national governments, which must reach agreement on the substance and timetable for the rules before they can take effect. Lawmakers have clashed with government officials over a range of issues in the legislation, including rules for systemically important lenders and caps on banker bonuses.

A spokeswoman for Ireland’s EU presidency declined to comment. The Irish document was drawn up as a basis for discussion by diplomats ahead of negotiations with members of the parliament.