The rest of the European Union (EU) finance ministers join their Eurozone counterparts in Brussels for the Ecofin meeting on Tuesday to continue hammering out details on the implementation of a single resolution mechanism that would serve to wind down failing banks and protect peers from contagion.
Ecofin is expected to continue negotiations on the backstop for the European financial sector. Germany has been the banking union's main opponent as politicians cringe at putting their taxpayers at risk for problems with banks outside their borders.
However, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici suggested that authorities were moving closer to a compromise that could combine the German requirement of a network of national funding along with the broader EU single resolution mechanism.
His German counterpart Wolfgang Schäuble stated "we are working hard to get a political agreement". Ecofin members implemented a self-imposed deadline of the end of this year to hammer out the agreement with a view towards passing any deal before new European Parliament elections at the end of next May.
The plan's largest critic, Schäuble suggested on Monday that he had hopes for a compromise to be reached. "It is still possible to do this," he said, though he could not rule out a possible extraordinary meeting before EU leaders gather on December 19th and 20th at the European Summit.
Apart from the talks on the banking union, Eurogroup officials also reviewed progress by bailed out Eurozone members. Ireland was applauded by finance members as they endorsed the final review of its adjustment programme. "We are fully confident that Ireland will be able to stand on its own feet as of next year thanks to all the good work done during the program period," Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in a statement.
The Eurogroup further endorsed the second review of the Cypriot program. "All fiscal targets have been comfortably met and significant progress has been made towards the recapitalisation and restructuring of the financial sector, allowing for the further relaxation of capital controls," the group said.
Even Greece received meager praise despite having been unable to reach an agreement with the Troika (representatives from the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank) in order to unlock its next aid payment.
Schäuble, often considered Greece's harshest critic, stated that Athens had made "great progress" in passing its budget. "The numbers are better, the growth and deficit numbers are better than we assumed a year and a half ago," the German FinMin said.
However, Troika officials are reportedly scheduled to return to Athens this week in order to continue their review and hammer out proposals. "We are fully aware of the efforts undertaken by Greece, also of the difficult political situation, yet the job is not yet done," Dijsselbloem warned.