BRUSSELS, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- European Commission leaders on Thursday hailed the formal approval by the European Parliament (EP) of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) for European banks.
"I am extremely pleased that the European Parliament voted today to set up the Single Supervisory Mechanism," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in a statement.
Earlier Thursday, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) gave their green light to the SSM, a new oversight system which involves the transfer of considerable bank supervisory powers from national to EU level.
Barroso hailed the SSM as the "first leg of the Banking Union, a "linchpin of a deeper economic and monetary union," and an indication that "the EU is delivering on its promises."
The President called upon member states to turn their attention "urgently" to the Single Resolution Mechanism, the second step in building a genuine Banking Union in Europe.
The Commission's proposal has been on the table since July and it is crucial that we finalise it even more swiftly," he added.
Echoing Barroso, EU Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier said, "Today, the EP has given its final go-ahead so that the ECB will be fully entrusted with responsibility for the supervision of banks in the framework of SSM."
Calling the SSM as "the first effective step creating the banking union," Barnier said, "we are not only strengthening our banks and the financial stability of the eurozone, we are also strengthening economic integration."
Under the new supervisory mechanism, the ECB now will have the legal capacity to supervise all banks of the eurozone and of those countries which decide to join the banking union.
The supervisory powers of the ECB will be fully effective and operational one year after the entry into force of the texts, said Barnier.
The Commissioner also "put this major achievement into a historic perspective," saying that, "At the end of this week, on September 15, it will be five years since Lehman Brothers' filed for bankruptcy. "
This event triggered the biggest global financial crisis in modern history. Five years on, the crisis is still not completely behind us but a lot has been done, he said.
"We are putting in place all the necessary rules to better protect European citizens and to prevent future crises. The SSM is an essential part of that work," Barnier added in his written statement.
The Commissioner also sounded a cautious, saying, "But the banking union is not finished with the SSM," which will have to be complemented by an integrated European resolution system for all countries participating in the banking union.
Under the new system, some 150 of the EU's largest banks would be brought under the European Central Bank's (ECB) direct oversight from September 2014, the EP said in a statement.