EU's Barroso urges progress on banking union

EU head Barroso urges swift progress on banking union, hopes bloc will overcome crisis in 2014

Associated Press

BRUSSELS (AP) -- European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is urging swift progress in the creation of the bloc's planned banking union, which is considered key to stabilizing its financial system.

The head of the EU's executive arm said Wednesday that the bloc's 28 member states must complete the project to "make sure that taxpayers are no longer in the front line to pay" when banks fail.

In his annual speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Barroso said Europe has recently received "praise and appreciation" for its reforms and hopes to get past its debt crisis next year.

Parliament is expected Thursday to vote on legislation establishing the first of three pillars of the banking union, a centralized oversight for the largest banks. However, agreement on a common backstop mechanism remains elusive.

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