Business

Progress made at eurozone talks: George Osborne

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Media captionChancellor George Osborne says "Britain will be keeping up the pressure" in relation to the eurozone crisis

Chancellor George Osborne has declared "real progress" after a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels on the eurozone debt crisis.

A provisional deal will see banks raise more than 100bn euros ($140bn; £87bn) in new capital to shield them against possible losses to indebted countries.

It is conditional on a wider accord, including a write-down of Greek debt.

UK banks will not need to raise any new funds, partly because they have not made substantial loans.

British banks have also topped up their reserves since the crisis first hit Europe in 2008.

And officials say their liquidity level already stands at the minimum ratio experts believe would be required to help them survive any future sovereign debt losses.

BBC business editor Robert Peston said the 100bn euros agreed in the deal will be provided to banks by commercial investors, national governments and the EU's bailout fund, with most expected to go to those banks in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France and Germany with the biggest exposure to the most indebted governments.

Speaking after 10 hours of talks, Mr Osborne said: "It was very important today that Europe took decisions...

"We have made real progress and we have come up with important decisions to strengthen European banks."

Mr Osborne had earlier said that the debt crisis was a "real danger" to all of Europe.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and heads of government from the 27 European Union states are due to gather in Brussels on Sunday and there are plans for an extra meeting on Wednesday.

Mr Osborne said: "Britain will keep up pressure in the next few days to a comprehensive package to resolve the European crisis and to make sure that we get jobs and growth."

The next tranche of Greek bailout loans, potentially saving the country from a disastrous default, has already been agreed but the eurozone is divided over a lasting solution.

On Friday, the 17 nations that use the euro approved an 8bn-euro loan that must still be signed off by the International Monetary Fund and that Athens should get in mid-November.

Debt-addled Greece has been bailed out - twice - along with the Irish Republic and Portugal.

The eurozone is working on a third package for Greece, as well as a solution that could help the huge-but-faltering economies of Spain and Italy.

But there have been widespread reports of deep divisions between France and Germany.

The German government has promised its taxpayers that its contribution will not go above 211bn euros so is looking for a way to increase the size of the fund without increasing the liabilities of German taxpayers.