European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the 27 leaders agreed at a Brussels summit to adopt a legal framework by the end of the year giving the European Central Bank overall responsibility for banking supervision.
After almost 10 hours of talks, he told a news conference:
Once this is agreed, the single supervisory mechanism could probably be effectively operational in the course of 2013.
More top news
The UN has said it is deeply concerned by reports hundreds of Syrian men have disappeared amid a mass exodus from rebel-held areas.
A man suspected of planning a terrorist attack has been arrested in Rotterdam after police found a loaded AK-47 in his apartment.
Another mild day with highs reaching up to 13C degrees in mild southerly winds