UK to approve banking union in Europe
13 December 2012
British prime minister, David Cameron and other EU leaders would today approve the banking union in Europe, after the UK was allowed concessions to protect the status of London as a financial centre.
The agreement was reached after EU finance ministers including George Osborne conducted discussions in a marathon all-night 14-hour session in Brussels. The landmark deal, the first step towards "fiscal and economic union" in the eurozone, would see the European Central Bank (ECB) play supervisory role over 200 of the biggest banks in the 17-member euro area and non-euro nations that decide to take part.
Though the UK would not join the banking union, fears have been voiced that London's premier position as a financial centre would be undermined by the en bloc voting by the 17 member nations, on the European Banking Authority (EBA), which sets banking rules throughout the EU.
However, Osborne won safeguards under which EBA decisions would need a majority among both the 17 euro "ins" and the 10 "outs" including Britain. There would also be a non-discrimination clause to prevent the ECB undermining any country or currency to protect London.
According to treasury minister Greg Clark the deal was "very good for Britain." He added the UK got all that it asked for to ensure that it could not be discriminated against. He added, with the agreement eurozone members would be able to secure confidence in the euro without being at the expense of the EU's single market in financial services.
However, according to analysts, though EU leaders have agreed to stabilise Europe's financial system with a banking union, the details have yet to be spelt out and there would be plenty of hurdles on the way to get all nations on board.