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European banks to hold more capital?

Banks throughout Europe could be forced to more than triple their minimum levels of core capital by the European Union (EU).

The EU financial services chief Michel Barnier is to suggest Basel Committee on Banking Supervision-approved rules that aim to stave off insolvency should the banking sector be shocked once again, Bloomberg reports.

In order to meet the criteria, institutions would be required to raise in the region of €423 billion ($595.5 billion) by 2019.

A number of lenders have complained, however, that the action will result in the continent's overall economic recovery being affected.

Markus Heidinger, a partner dealing with Vienna-based law firm Wolf Theiss, said: "A lot of existing capital will need to be replaced, it will not count any longer. At best, ten per cent of the work is done. It is just the beginning."

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision is overseen by the Group of Governors and Heads of Supervision, of which Mervyn King was recently announced as the new chair.

By Gary Cooper