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FRANCE 24 (France), CNN (USA)

Worldcrunch

FRANKFURT – European Union finance ministers have agreed on a deal giving the European Central Bank (ECB) new powers to supervise eurozone banks.

This agreement came early Thursday after the ministers held talks for more than 14 hours in Frankfurt following months of tense Franco-German divisions. All finance ministers from the European Union’s 27 countries agreed to hand the ECB direct oversight of at least 150 of the euro zone’s biggest bank.



The ECB will also be able to intervene with smaller lenders and borrowers at the first sign of trouble, reports France 24.

"This is a big first step for banking union," EU Commissioner Michel Barnier said. "The ECB will play the pivotal role, there’s no ambiguity about that."

The deal will indeed give the ECB the direct responsibility for banks with assets of more than 30 billion euros, or that represent more than a fifth of a state's national output.

The supervision plan is seen as the first step towards a eurozone banking union designed to reshape confidence, push cross-border bank lending and bring down high borrowing costs for peripheral banks, reports CNN.

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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