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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Leading EU lawmakers threaten to block new joint body to restructure or shut down ailing banks

BRUSSELS - European Parliament leaders are threatening to hold up the legislation establishing a common authority to restructure or shut down failing banks.

The EU's 28 finance ministers reached a deal in December on how to set up that bank resolution authority, which they say will be a final step in building Europe's banking union. But many EU lawmakers, whose approval is needed, find the proposal flawed.

Their caucus leaders said in a joint statement Thursday the current state of negotiations to find a compromise "is not promising given the wide differences ... meaning that no deal before the European elections in May is a distinct possibility."

EU officials say failing to pass the legislation by May would considerably delay the project and undermine the efforts to stabilize the bloc's financial system.

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