European Union ministers failed Tuesday to seal a deal for a new system to police thousands of banks across the bloc's borders, pushing decisions back to a fresh meeting next week.
After nearly four hours wrestling with problems in the system's design, Cyprus Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly, who is chairing the talks until the end of the year, announced that more time was needed to reach agreement on a series of issues.
He called for a fresh meeting between the 27 EU ministers next Wednesday.
With talks among the 17 eurozone-only ministers already called for the morning of December 13, the time had yet to be settled.
In roundtable talks broadcast on the web, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble rejected a proposed morning start before the cameras were cut, which means that yet another late-night session is likely.
"It is only a question of a little bit more time perhaps before we can achieve yet another positive European first," said Shiarly.
He listed problems needing to be resolved in the bid to create a so-called Single Supervisory Mechanism as:
-- divisions of responsibilities between the European Central Bank and national regulators;
-- "fine-tuning" to ensure a separation of powers within the ECB as regards the management of banking supervision and monetary policy;
-- difficulties over how the system will be phased in;
-- unresolved issues about voting rules, with non-euro countries concerned about the power of the currency bloc when disputes arise;
-- and "possibly the need for a more targeted review."