Britain secures compromise on EU bank body

EUROPEAN leaders were last night close to a deal to give the European Central Bank the right to supervise banks across the bloc after Britain secured a crucial agreement which would limit the new body’s powers.

Germany, the Netherlands and Austria all agreed to back Britain’s demands for “double majority” voting, which means any decisions by the European Banking Authority (EBA) would also need to be approved by EU countries outside the union.

This agreement means the EBA could not automatically force new rules on all 27 EU countries without them being put to the wider vote.

The compromise came ahead of today’s meeting of finance ministers in Brussels aimed at securing a deal on the make-up of the banking union.

Agreement on a common bank supervisor is a crucial first step towards a broader “banking union”, or common Eurozone approach to dealing with failing banks that in recent years have dragged down countries like Ireland and Spain.

German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said last night that there was “a good chance to reach a deal today.” “My intention is that we find a solution to the banking union on time before Christmas,” he added.