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EU suggest 'Banking Union' progress, more talks needed

BRUSSELS --EU finance ministers agreed Wednesday to meet again next week to finalize details of a “Banking Union” meant to prevent failing banks from ever again wrecking the economy.

Following more than 14 hours of talks, the ministers cited some progress but not enough, with agreement only on the general principles on one of the bloc's most ambitious projects.

“We did not finish. We agreed to reconvene next week,” said Lithuanian Finance Minister Rimantas Sadzius, who chaired the talks.

“We have come a long way,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said.

All countries now accept the principle that if banks “get into difficulty, then it will not be the taxpayer but the investors and creditors that bear the costs,” Schaeuble said.

But as to how to put that into practice, all member states “still need to check a few things so that we can make the final political accord ... next week,” he said.

Sadzius said ministers would gather again on Dec. 18, on the eve of a two-day EU leaders summit supposed to sign off on the plan which will then go to the European Parliament.

Ministers hope the Banking Union will prevent any repeat of failing banks driving governments into international bailouts.

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German Finance Minister Wolfgan Schaeuble, center, talks with Dutch Finance Minister and President of Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem, right, and an unidentified adviser, left, before the start of an Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting at EU Headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, Dec. 10.


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