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Löger: Agreement on banking package a success for Austrian EU Council Presidency The banking package is a great achievement enabling the protection of financial market stability and of taxpayers 

Vienna (OTS) - Löger: "Through agreement on the banking package, the Austrian EU Council Presidency has succeeded in taking an important step towards deepening of the banking union. Endorsement of the package constitutes a success for the financial and capital markets which cannot be underestimated. However, it is at least equally significant that today, the EU is also able to communicate a message of unity. This ability to act and compromise is what our citizens expect on other issues too."

Thirteen Trilogues, 15 working-group meetings and numerous technical meetings were required – but in the end, a major breakthrough on the banking package was achieved. Begun over two years ago during the Slovakian Council Presidency and subsequently further negotiated by the Presidency of Malta, Estonia and Bulgaria, now, under the Presidency of Austria, work could finally be brought to a successful conclusion, namely agreement on risk-reducing measures in the banking sector for the purpose of protecting both financial stability and taxpayers.

Specifically, decisive measures have been adopted regarding risk reduction in the banking sector which will in future better regulate both supervision and banking resolution. On the one hand, this will make it possible to better prevent the occurrence of financial crises, since measures will be in place to ensure that, in future, banks must hold greater volumes of risk capital. On the other hand, the possibility of the orderly resolution of distressed financial institutions, without having recourse to taxpayers' money, is being consolidated and given a more targeted structure. As a result, taxpayers will no longer be asked to bear ultimate responsibility in the event of future defaults.

In addition, the banking package endorsed contains significant proportionality measures which make it easier above all for the comparatively small Austrian banks to compete at European level.

However, through this agreement, the Austrian Council Presidency has also given an important pro-European signal, since the banking package represents a key step towards further deepening of the banking union and integration of the internal market for banking services, both core projects of further European integration.

The basic pillars of the risk-reducing measures consist of international standards on maximum permissible leverage as well as longer-term liquidity management and the maximum loss-bearing capacity of European banks. However, in addition to these aspects, specific measures have also been put in place to take account of Europe-specific features, and a proportional scheme without unnecessary bureaucracy has been created so as not to curtail the ability of European financial institutions to finance the real economy.

Finance Minister Hartwig Löger at the doorstep in Brussels