By Matina Stevis and Costas Paris
NICOSIA--Getting a single banking supervisor for all euro-zone banks under the European Central Bank up and running during 2013 is an ambitious plan, the European Union financial-services head Michel Barnier admitted Saturday, while also conceding that his proposal for the new agency had to be negotiated to address strong concerns over voting rights by non-euro zone countries such as Sweden.
Speaking after the second day of an informal meeting of EU finance ministers in Nicosia, Mr. Barnier said that "time is short and criticism has been voiced" over his proposal but that his timetable was "realistic and necessary."
Both Mr. Barnier and ECB Vice President Vitor Constancio--who was speaking at the same press conference--were keen to stress that legal work was left to be done to amend rules that prohibit non-euro area member states from voting on ECB decisions. This is a matter of concern to non-euro zone countries, which are invited to voluntarily join the bank supervisor but, as things stand, wouldn't be able to vote.
Mr. Constancio also noted that, while it was never intended for the still-embryonic ECB single banking supervisor to directly supervise every single one of the 6,000 euro-zone banks on a "day-to-day basis," the new body should have the "legal competencies" to do so. This, he said, was also a matter to be addressed in the preparatory process for the new agency.
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