Denmark, which as the current holder of the EU presidency, has taken the unusual step of calling an extra meeting of finance ministers in Brussels on May 2. EU countries are making a fresh attempt to break the deadlock over new bank capital rules accelerating efforts to find agreement on measures crucial for lending and the economy.
The European Commission has proposed new standards for the amount of capital banks across the 27-state European Union must hold to cover risks.
But Britain is demanding the flexibility to impose higher levels of capital on banks if necessary, putting it at loggerheads with Germany and France, which favor a uniform standard across Europe.
Clarifying the precise rules on capital, almost five years after the start of the financial crisis that toppled lenders, would remove some uncertainty for banks, already nervous about lending as Europe slides into recession.
Time is running out for the EU to finalize its rules that will reshape post-crisis banking in the decades to come.
World leaders have agreed to start phasing in global bank capital rules, known as Basel III, from next year and the EU wants to finalize its framework within months.