A two-day informal ECOFIN meeting in Athens closed on Wednesday with Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras expressing satisfaction over "fruitful" discussions over reforms of the European banking system after the financial crisis which has tested Europe in recent years.
The meeting focused on the restructuring of the banking sector and the banking union in light of the political agreement the Greek presidency of the EU reached recently with the European Parliament on the Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM).
The pillars of the new regulatory framework will discussed in the future, Stournaras said at a press conference at the end of the meeting. He expressed confidence that the steps taken so far and the planned reforms would strengthen the banking sector across the continent.
"We have learned our lessons from the crisis. We are pretty sure that by mid-April, the European parliament will be able to vote on the banking union and then the Council will adopt the regulations. We are doing everything possible to make sure that the banking system is safe," he stressed.
Jonathan Faull, director general of internal market and services at the European Commission said Greek and European banks are today better capitalized, noting that much more needs to be done to safeguard the stability of the financial system in Europe and avoid new crises.
European counterparts have come up with a solid package of reforms that transform the sector, he said.
"The purpose of all this is that it is an alternative to bailing out banks by asking taxpayers to pay for them. We have seen that the whole point of the resolution is that you have a bail in system rather than a bail out system and banks look after themselves. I think the link between the sovereign and banks has been cut the way the European Council wanted it cut," Faull said.