Call the Lawyers - France Gets Serious Over Banking Union
As disagreement grows over whether a system to wind up Europe's failing banks - a central tenet to region-wide banking union – requires treaty change, France's finance minister told CNBC that Europe should let its lawyers work it out.
"My interpretation is that we don't need a treaty change. It's also, as far as I understand, the interpretation of the European Commission and the way the president of the Eurogroup sees [it]," Pierre Moscivici said on Monday.
"Let's give the work to the lawyers; let them say if it's necessary or not. We have very good lawyers here as well as in the European Commission and the European Council. If it's proven there is no need for a treaty change, then let's do our work and let's implement this authority - which is certainly something which will be key in the architecture of the system of the banking union."
(Read More: Eurogroup Chief: France Must Speed Up Reforms)
"If it happens that there is a need for treaty change, then we'll consider how to do that. But, the goal in my view is to be maintained in any kind of situation," he added, speaking after a meeting of the Eurogroup of finance ministers at which disagreements over the legal framework for a banking union were discussed.
Germany's finance minister,Wolfgang Schaeuble,warned this weekend that the creation of a new system of bank resolution in the euro zone required EU treaty change that could take years.
But the head of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, argued that the system could be in place by the summer.
(Read More: Confusion Reigns: Europe Bickers Over Banking Union)
The finance ministers of Spain and Portugal also pushed for full banking union to be implemented as soon as possible when they met on Monday, increasing pressure on Germany to stop resisting the move.
Pierre Moscovici said relations with Germany remained cordial, but added that he would like to see "the principal decisions" on banking union made before the country's elections in September.
"We had a friendly discussion with Schaeuble. Let's give a mandate for an arbitrage between us to the lawyers of the [European] Commission and Council. I am certain that they will give us the most relevant advice and again if the advice is what I believe it will be, that is to say, we can do that without a treaty change, then, let's move on," he said.
(Read More: Germany Backtracks on Banking Union)
He echoed Dijsselbloem's hopes that a resolution mechanism could be in place before summer
"We are advocating for a global banking union and with the main decision taken within this semester, the European semester," he said.
- By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt