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EU clinches bank deal amid Franco-German spat

Published on Oct 19, 2012 6:17 AM
French President Francois Hollande (R) speaks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after the family photo at an EU summit in Brussels on October 18, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

BRUSSELS (AFP) - European Union (EU) leaders Thursday vowed to set up a banking union during the course of 2013 but a Franco-German spat held up agreement on exactly when this vital crisis-fighting tool might come into force.

Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly said there had been an "agreement on a political framework for the end of 2012 and a gradual implementation in 2013." Diplomats said a final summit statement would commit the 27 countries to "agreeing" on a supervisor for euro zone banks by year end but the new body would take longer to implement amid discord between Europe's two powerhouses.

Unlike most recent summits, held amid fears that the 17-nation euro zone was on the point of collapse, the gathering in Brussels took place against a backdrop of calmer markets although violence broke out during a strike in Greece.

Nevertheless, Paris and Berlin clashed over the best way to end the three-year crisis, with France clamouring for rapid action on a banking union and Germany insisting there was no rush.

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