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ECB's Mersch hits out at UK delay of new supervision laws

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Britain's delay in approving a new European law allowing the European Central Bank to directly supervise banks across the euro zone could put its late 2014 start date at risk, ECB Executive Board member Yves Mersch said on Thursday.

"Each time we have a delay after we have just experienced yesterday afternoon ... this immediately has an effect on all the different decisions," Mersch said at a European Supervisor Education conference

It "will put at risk whether we will be able to... in 12 months... be ready to seamlessly take over supervision from the national supervisors."

At a meeting of EU ambassadors on Wednesday, a European official said Britain asked for a delay to the final ministerial sign-off of the single supervision mechanism (SSM) in order for its parliament to examine it.

The formal sign off had been planned at a meeting of EU competitiveness ministers this week. The delay is, however, procedural he added and should not postpone progress for more than a few weeks

(Reporting by Eva Kuehnen; Editing by Marc Jones and Toby Chopra in London)