The BBC reports that EU leaders have agreed to phase in a single supervisory mechanism, under the auspices of the ECB, for eurozone banks during the course of 2013. However, according to the report, it is not clear whether the ECB will have direct responsibility for all 6,000 eurozone banks – specifically, whether German Landesbanks will continue to be subject to national supervision on a day-to-day basis.
This FT article sees the timetable for implementation as a victory for the group of nations, led be France, which had been pushing for a speedy first step towards banking union. However, it notes that there is still no agreement as to when the European Stability Mechanism will be empowered to recapitalise troubled banks directly, thus relieving sovereigns of the burden of debt. The German government insists that this can only happen once the new bank supervisor is established and running effectively. The ECB itself estimates that this would take between 6 and 12 months.