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EU leaders set to slow support for ailing banks

Analysis

European Union leaders said their plan to forge a banking union remained on track even as they muted promises to support ailing lenders when central euro-area supervision starts next year, news agency Bloomberg wrote on Friday.

The agency reported that at a summit in Brussels, the political leaders promised to make “all appropriate arrangements, including the establishment of national backstops” for the restructuring and recapitalization of banks before the European Central Bank conducts asset-quality reviews.

The final statement left out language describing the ECB balance-sheet reviews and stress tests as “particularly important to complete the process,” while noting that the euro area’s firewall fund will eventually have the “possibility” of helping banks directly.

As the banking ambitions ebbed, the leaders played up a decision made during the first day of talks to spend €8 billion ($10.4 billion) on fighting youth unemployment and pledged to enlist the European Investment Bank, the EU’s project-finance arm, in efforts to steer more loans to credit-starved small and midsized companies, especially in southern Europe.

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