The European Commission is to unveil the next building block of its ambitious banking union on Wednesday, with proposals for dealing with failing banks.
The Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) -- viewed sceptically in Germany -- will give the Commission the power to shut down any of Europe's 6,000-plus banks, even if the national authorities of the country involved disagree.
The SRM is regarded as a key pillar in Europe's banking union alongside the single banking supervisor being set up under the aegis of the European Central Bank.
The aim of the banking union is to break the link between indebted governments and banking systems.
Countries have spent vast amounts of taxpayers' money in recent years trying to prop up struggling banks and that has increased the countries' own debt burden.
At the end of June, the 28 member states agreed a common set of rules laying down the pecking order for creditors to take losses when a bank needs to be rescued or wound up. Those rules have yet to be approved by the European Parliament.
The proposals presented by the EU's Internal Markets Commissioner Michel Barnier on Wednesday are for a resolution mechanism -- comprising both a resolution board and a resolution fund -- which will click into action once the ECB has sounded alarm on any bank in trouble.
The Single Resolution Board -- made up of representatives of the ECB, the European Commission and the national resolution authorities -- will decide how a bank is to be resolved and issue a corresponding recommendation to the Commission.
The Commission would reserve the right to make a final decision.
A Single Bank Resolution Fund would also be set up under the control of the resolution board.
It would be funded by mandatory levies on the banking sector, thus alleviating the burden on the public purse.
Over the next decade or so, the fund could grow to amount to as much as 60-70 billion euros ($77-90 billion), according to a Commission official.
The Commission's proposals for the SRM must nevertheless overcome scepticism in Germany which believes such a mechanism is not currently compatible with EU treaties.
While German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Tuesday signalled Berlin's readiness to accept treaty changes, they would nevertheless take time.
Deeper down, Germany is unhappy with the idea of a single resolution fund because its banks would be required to foot the bill for the rescue or resolution of banks in weaker eurozone countries.
Giving the Commission the ultimate say is therefore causing stomach ache in some member states.
Another problem is that the resolution mechanism itself is to come into effect in 2015, while the rules it will be empowered to apply will not be in place until 2018.
And the resolution fund itself will need years before it is fully funded.
So all in all, the entire project is surrounded by uncertainty.
In contrast to Schaeuble, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici called Tuesday for an agreement to be reached at ministerial level by the end of the year.