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
Teacher shortages in England continue to grow and the government has missed recruitment targets, the National Audit Office says.
The way the government plans to pay for social housing tenants to buy their homes is "extremely questionable", MPs warn.
Marco Rubio was the man who was going to ride to the Republican party's rescue. What went wrong?