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ECB's Draghi: time to complete banking union

ECB President Mario Draghi has reiterated his call for a savers' protection scheme that would apply across the eurozone. It is seen as the last, albeit controversial, pillar of the bloc's banking union.

Failing to introduce a eurozone-wide scheme to protect savers would undermine the currency union and risk repeating mistakes made in the "institutional design" when the euro currency was established, Draghi said in Frankfurt on Wednesday.

"Deposits, which are the most widespread form of money, have to inspire the same level of confidence wherever they are located," he said.

His comments came on the first anniversary of the launch of the bloc's "Single Supervisory Mechanism" (SSM), which supervises 122 banks in the 19 member states.

From 2016, the "Single Resolution Mechanism" (SRM) will come into force. It regulates how banks are restructured and - if necessary - how they should be closed.

There is, however, no timetable for the introduction of a savers' scheme, which is meant to be the third pillar of the bloc's banking union.

It is contentious, as states like Germany, for example, fear their savings banks' generous emergency deposits might be tapped by other member states, who typically do not have such ample reserves.

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In practice, most euro zone countries already have deposit insurance in place for up to 100,000 euros, but the guarantee is provided by the individual state rather than being shared across the bloc.

Jonathan Hill, the European Union commissioner in charge of regulation, said he would make a fresh attempt this year to reach agreement on a new deposit protection scheme based on a "reinsurance approach."

The head of the SSM, Daniele Nouy, meanwhile, said the supervisor had made great strides towards harmonizing regulation but that the "development of a unified culture of supervision takes time."

ng/cjc (Reuters, dpa)

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