EU must tackle bank union and too-big-to-fail

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Europe needs to swiftly complete its planned banking union to prevent future crisis, experts say.

But Finance Watch, which relieves 45 percent of its funding from the EU, says big lenders must be broken up first.

Thierry Philipponat, the group’s secretary-general, said: “The main problem in Europe is that we have banks that are too large, too complex too interconnected to make any system and I insist any system of protecting tax payers against banks failures from succeeding.”

They say investment banks should be hived off from their retail counterparts, Philipponat said.

It was an idea first floated in a European Commission-backed report last year.

Adrian Blundell-Wignall, a financial markets expert at the OECD, said prevention is better than cure.

“If you let the problem come you can have a very good single market, a Single Resolution Authority and the rest of it even a big enough fund to carry that up,” he said.

“It’s after that you’ve got the problem and it is still going to cost money. So the key thing is to stop getting to that point.”

The economists were meeting at a forum in Brussels organised by Finance Watch.

They voiced concern that banks have been bailed out, this money is not being lent to homes and businesses.

Only 28% of the 46-trillion-euro European banking sector has been lent to households and firms in 2012, according to Finance Watch.

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