A 16-hour meeting of European Union finance ministers that ended this morning (3 May) failed to produce agreement on new capital requirements for Europe’s banks, although ministers edged closer on most other issues.
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Margrethe Vestager, Denmark’s finance minister who chaired the meeting, said in an early-morning news conference that the outlines of a deal are now in place and that only details need to be filled in before the ministers meet again in two weeks’ time. “We can say we have an agreement, it needs technical work until it’s completely done, by 15 May,” Vestager said.
The main point of contention is the role of national regulators and whether they need authorisation from the European Commission to impose tougher capital requirements on their banks. The UK and Sweden, which want higher capital requirements than the 7% set by the Basel international agreement, resist a role for the EU in authorising higher requirements.
The unexpected attendance of George Osborne, UK finance minister, at the meeting raised hopes that a compromise proposed by Denmark – to give national regulators a 3% buffer on top of EU requirements – might be agreed.