News Summary: Germany, France clash on EU bank sup

After failed meeting, EU nations drag themselves to year-end summit carrying a heavy load

Associated Press

LONG EUROPEAN ROAD: European Union countries are dragging themselves to a year-end summit with a heavy load of unfinished business aimed at shoring up confidence in the region in the wake of the three-year financial crisis.

NEAR AND FAR: The 27 finance ministers remain split on the establishment of a new European supervisor to keep wayward banks in check. Add to that deep-rooted disagreements on the establishment of a multi-annual EU budget and the seemingly endless strife to keep Greece on the safe side of the brink of bankruptcy, and it adds up to a chaotic outlook for the EU over the next weeks.

UNITY: As part of its plans to avoid a repeat of the financial crisis crippling the region, the EU has been working toward setting up a "banking union" — a unified playbook for all the region's banks. The single bank supervisor is a vital part of this plan and must be up and running before other measures can be introduced: European-wide depositors' insurance; a single method for winding down bankrupt banks; and allowing the European bailout fund to directly help banks in trouble, instead of lending money only to governments.

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