Schaeuble : Pushing Americans to Accept Basel III
11/23/2012| 12:24pm US/Eastern
By Todd Buell and Ulrike Dauer
Europe will continue to pressure U.S. authorities to accept the Basel III banking regulations, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Friday, joining a chorus of voices expressing displeasure at the United States' unwillingness to embrace international standards designed to make the banking sector more robust.
"We are using all our energy so that we can do what we agreed and that is to implement Basel III in a timely manner, and that all partners, including our friends in the United States stick [to that plan]," said Mr. Schaeuble. "We have agreed that we implement [Basel III] at the same time and we should do that."
The Basel III rules, which require banks to maintain a stronger capital buffer, are to be phased in at the beginning of next year, but some leading American officials have recently expressed serious reservations about these rules, which some consider a last-ditch attempt to protect the margins of U.S. banks.
Earlier Friday, Deutsche Bundesbank Vice President Sabine Lautenschlaeger suggested to reporters that European branches of U.S.-based banks could be placed under European Union supervision if the U.S. lags in introducing Basel III bank rules designed to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.
Mr. Schaeuble also said he hopes that there could be a legal framework in place to allow for a single banking supervisor in Europe, proposed to be under the roof of the European Central Bank, by the end of this year. He cautioned though that he isn't sure whether this timeframe is possible.
Turning to troubled euro-zone states, the minister said Spain may need less than half of the funds set aside for it to bailout its banks.
The implementation of Spain's bank bailout program is "on a good path," said Mr. Schaeuble. He added that of the EUR100 billion set aside for Spanish banks, it is possible the country "will only lay claim to less than half of that."
Spain agreed to a bailout with its euro-zone partners to help its crippled banking sector earlier this summer. The country is under pressure to accept a full bailout for its sovereign finances, but Madrid thus far has resisted calls that it take an international rescue package.
(Hans Bentzien and Eyk Henning in Frankfurt contributed to this article)
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