During its meeting in October 2012, the European Council decided to move forward on the legal underpinnings of a banking supervisor at the ECB. The position was officially accepted at the next meeting in December. The position was designed to be responsible for overseeing the banks in the states that use the euro. Some of the debate between state leaders at the October meeting involved when the supervisor would be up and running. The issue of timing was particularly relevant and indeed pressing at the time because federal bailout money would flow directly to banks only once a supervisor is in place. To the extent that Spanish banks desperately needed additional capitalization to cover their bad debts, the ability of the Council to come up with legislation for a supervisor position in a timely manner—the upcoming German election notwithstanding—was crucial to stabilizing the market not only in the E.U., but internationally as well. The Council's members can be subjected to critique in this respect.
The full essay is at "E.U. & U.S."