EU seeks agreement on body to handle failed banks

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Parliament lawmakers and representatives of the European Union's 28 member nations are trying to hammer out the final details of a new joint authority with the power to close down or restructure ailing banks.

The so-called single resolution mechanism will have a joint fund to finance its operations. It would be the final piece of Europe's planned banking union, which aims to protect countries from being dragged down and forced into seeking a bailout by the cost of bank rescues.

Lawmakers and officials are set to start negotiations Wednesday in Brussels. Disagreements remain over the authority's decision-making structure and oversight. EU finance ministers thrashed out an initial compromise just before Christmas. Officials hope to pass the legislation before Parliament's current term ends in May to avoid long delays.

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