President Jose Manuel Barroso said: "We started this year with many commentators, and not only commentators, many market analysts and actors, also in the financial markets, seriously questioning whether the euro and indeed European integration would survive.….. I think that those commentators and those analysts have been shown to be totally wrong…….We are tackling the crisis and we have a long term vision for our Union….. I am really confident that we are going to overcome the difficulties."
The banking union agreement backed by EU leaders included safeguards requested by the UK and others, to protect the single market of 27 in financial services and ensure that key decisions affecting all 27 would require a "double simple majority", in other words a majority among both Member States participating in the single supervisory mechanism and those not participating.
The SSM will cover all euro area Member States and others that wish to join. It also brings closer the possibility of direct recapitalisation of banks by the
European Stability Mechanism, which would help to break the vicious circle between banks and sovereign debt.
EU leaders agreed also to build on this momentum by putting in place other aspects of the Banking Union, starting with the finalisation in early 2013 of the bank capital rules and of the harmonisation of national bank resolution and deposit guarantee schemes.
The European Council also took stock of progress on work to boost growth and jobs. EU leaders agreed to speed up work on boosting the single market, reduce youth unemployment and reforming EU legislation to minimise burdens on businesses.
With regard to reforms at national level, the European Council endorsed the five priorities set by the Commission for the year ahead: growth friendly fiscal consolidation, restoring normal lending to the economy, promoting growth and competitiveness, tackling unemployment and the social consequences of the crisis and modernising public administration..
The European Council also discussed how to enhance the EU's Common Defence and Security Policy in view of the Union's expanding role on the world stage.