EU Countries Seek Deal On Basel III Regulations

European Union finance ministers are making a renewed attempt to hammer out an accord on boosting the amount of capital and liquid assets that must be held by the region’s banks after the U.K. rejected a previous compromise.

Sixteen hours of ministerial talks on the draft law earlier this month foundered over how much freedom national regulators should have to impose even tougher rules on their banks than those mandated by EU law. The U.K. and Bulgaria said that compromises drawn up by Denmark, which holds the rotating EU presidency, would diminish their sovereign rights.

“I hope very much that we can make a firm decision today because the compromise is well balanced,” Danish Economy Minister Margrethe Vestager told Bloomberg reporters before the meeting in Brussels. “We’re very close to an agreement. I think we’re almost there.”

Governments and lawmakers in the 27-nation EU face a January deadline to implement the bank rules, which were agreed on by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision in the wake of the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. The measures, known as Basel III, would more than triple the core capital that banks need to hold to 7 percent of their assets, weighted for risk. Basel agreements must be implemented into nations’ laws before they can come into effect.

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