Finance ministers from the 27 European Union nations diverged
over a timetable for bringing banks under a new regulatory plan.
European Union finance ministers were expected on Tuesday to seek ways to overcome differences over how to regulate European banks after a sharp and public disagreement about making Greece's debts sustainable into the next decade.
A plan to establish a single banking supervisor under the aegis of the European Central Bank for the 6,000 lenders in the euro area was on the agenda for a second day of talks that had concentrated Monday on the Greek situation, which still threatens to derail the euro zone after dragging on for more than two years.
The creation of the banking supervisor is seen as a main step to breaking the so-called doom loop between lenders and governments that has brought a number of economies in Europe, including Spain's, to the brink.
Germany made the creation of the single supervisor a prerequisite for states to tap a newly created European bailout fund and use the money to recapitalize their banks directly.
But Luc Freiden, the finance minister for Luxembourg, said Tuesday that the system still could be months away.
"We shouldn't be fixed to dates," Mr. Freiden said. "If it takes three months longer, it's no problem."
The European Commission has said a unified system of regulation could be up and running next year. Germany is among countries that have urged caution, saying that rushing the system would risk creating new loopholes. Britain and Sweden say much work still needs to be done to ensure the system does not discriminate against countries that remain outside of the euro area.
"We cannot see a compromise with only the current modalities on the table," Anders Borg, the Swedish finance minister, said Tuesday. "The E.C.B. could be the supervisor but then we need to consider a treaty change," he said. "Either you must change the treaty so it's clear that every member is treated equitably, or you need to move it outside of the E.C.B."
Finance ministers were also expected to discuss increasing capital requirements for banks and how to more closely monitor the draft budgets of E.U. members and correct excessive deficits.
In a sign that fixing the Greek economy and the euro would continue to be a rancorous process even after three years of crisis, Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg, and Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, drew strikingly different conclusions late Monday about how long it should take to bring the towering Greek debt under control.
The disagreement is a hugely sensitive matter for Greece's biggest creditors in the euro area and for Germany in particular. The government in Berlin wants to avoid the political fallout from paying higher costs associated with meeting a target set by the I.M.F. for cutting Greek debt to 120 percent of gross domestic product by 2020.
Wolfgang Schauble, the German finance minister, said Tuesday that meeting the I.M.F. target was "possibly a little too ambitious" given the worsening economy across Europe.
Mr. Schauble also said Greek creditors would be able to find ways to help the country meet the higher costs of delaying some of its previously agreed targets to 2016, without handing over more money.
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