France, Italy seek single EU bank regulator

  • France and Italy led an effort by five eurozone member states in urging the European Union to set up a single banking regulator by the end of the year.

    The leaders of France, Malta, Spain, Italy and Portugal met in Malta on Friday at a summit with North African nations as part of the 5+5 group of Mediterranean countries.

    In a joint statement, the leaders said the next European Council on October 18-19 "must pave the way towards the establishment of a single European banking supervision system, to be decided before the end of the year and operational by January 2013".

    European leaders have tentatively agreed on the creation of a single banking union in which member states would jointly back their banks in a bid to shore up the European financial system.

    However, Germany, the bloc's biggest economy, has expressed doubts over whether the joint system of banking supervision will be up and running by the start of next year.