"We don't want another situation where governments find themselves up against the wall, having to inject public money to a avert catastrophe for the whole of society. We think that it's time bankers and their shareholders take responsibility for this,'' Michel Barnier, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, said.
But the banking union plan still needs to be approved by EU countries and then the European parliament. That is likely to take years rather than months. Even if some think the measures will have an impact, almost certainly they will come too late for Spain, should it need to go cap in hand to the EU for a bank bailout.
The plan would require the bloc's banks to pay an annual levy into a fund, so that if a bank failed, financial institutions rather than taxpayers would take the hit.