Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and French President François Hollande called here Wednesday for agreements reached at a European Union summit in June to be implemented and specifically demanded that a pan-European bank supervisory body become a reality in 2013.
In a press conference after a bilateral summit, Rajoy and Hollande said they will ask their colleagues during next week's gathering of EU leaders to show they are serious about resolving the sovereign-debt crisis by honoring pledges made this summer.
The Spanish premier said he will demand that steps be taken before year's end, particularly with respect to the proposed banking union.
Given that European Council President Herman Van Rompuy was tasked with presenting a proposal on bank supervision by December, "there's no reason" decisions cannot be made at this time, Rajoy said.
"In that sense, it's fully possible and absolutely desirable that the European Council give a clear sign that it will resolutely continue the process of European integration," he said.
Rajoy said he was not aware that Germany had called for delays in setting up the banking supervisor and insisted that the accords need to be implemented.
Hollande expressed full support for Rajoy's remarks and said European leaders must fulfill their commitments, implement the growth pact and agree on a region-wide banking supervisory body, noting that once such an accord is reached all French banks will be under the supervision of the European Central Bank.
France and Spain are eager for the ECB to take on that responsibility because once a new supervisory framework is in place the euro zone's rescue fund will be able to lend money directly to the region's troubled banks.
At present, such aid must be channeled via governments, whose debt burdens are increased in the process.
Spain, one of the countries hardest hit by the euro-zone financial crisis, is in recession for the second time in three years in large part due to the collapse of a long-building housing bubble, which left many of its banks saddled with toxic real-estate assets.
With its borrowing costs soaring, the country was forced to requsest a loan of up to 100 billion euros ($129 billion) from its euro-zone partners to prop up those ailing financial institutions.
The Iberian nation's unemployment rate currently stands at nearly 25 percent overall and more than 50 percent among young people.
Numerous businesses have failed amid the slump and tens of thousands of families have been evicted from their homes after falling behind on their mortgages. EFE