|United States of Europe?|
Europe's finance ministers have taken another major step towards closer integration, with a significant transfer of authority from national governments to the ECB, he says.
The EU had already agreed that the ECB would act as chief supervisor of eurozone banks.
But the deal gives the ECB powers to close down eurozone banks that do not follow the rules. It also paves the way for the EU's main rescue fund to come to the direct aid of struggling banks.
It represents the first stage of a banking union - known as a Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) - which EU leaders believe can be put in place without having to change EU treaties.
While the European Central Bank will be responsible for the overall running of the SSM, it will be in close co-operation with the supervisory authorities of member states and the EU-wide European Banking Authority, which creates banking rules across all 27 member states.
But there have been some legal doubts about the subsequent stages - a joint deposit guarantee scheme and a joint resolution mechanism for winding up broken banks.
But what about the UK?
Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron is a reluctant member of the European Union, with a riven party on this issue, and a deep concern that the major strategic move undertaken by previous Conservative prime ministers – to turn their backs on an industrial UK and focus on a financial economy – will be in jeopardy if the other EU members forge stronger financial links:
The UK, which is not in the eurozone, will not be joining the banking union but has won some protection against being marginalised when key decisions are taken, our Europe editor says.
London is the EU's main financial centre, and handles by far the biggest share of euro foreign exchange transactions. So the UK government is anxious to safeguard the City's powerful role and prevent its business leaching to a more integrated eurozone.
The UK and Denmark both have formal opt-outs from the euro.
Good news for Europeans.