June 21, 2019 / 10:29 AM / 4 months ago

Sorting out euro zone budget financing a priority - EU leaders statement

Eurogroup President Mario Centeno arrives at the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 21, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union finance ministers must sort out the sources of financing for a future euro zone budget as a matter of priority, EU leaders told their finance ministers on Friday, but remained vague on the idea of a European deposit insurance scheme (EDIS).

The chairman of euro zone finance ministers Mario Centeno briefed the leaders on what ministers have achieved since they were asked last December to work on creating a euro zone budget along with other reforms, including EDIS.

“We ask the Eurogroup to report back swiftly on the appropriate solutions for financing,” the leaders said in the statement about the euro zone budget, called Budgetary Instrument for Competitiveness and Convergence (BICC).

“These elements should be agreed as a matter of priority so as to be able to set the size of the BICC in the context of the next Multi-annual Financial Framework,” they said, referring to the wider EU’s next long term budget.

But the leaders avoided even a direct reference to EDIS, a scheme stalled for years because of strong opposition from Germany.

The statement said only “we look forward to the continuation of the technical work on the further strengthening of the Banking Union” — EU code for the deposit guarantee scheme — in a sign there was no deadline for the discussions.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski

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