“Only a year ago, the measure was not even up for discussion, but on the night of December 12, Europe’s finance ministers reached agreement on a mechanism for the supervision of eurozone banks.” The first step towards a banking union, the supervisory mechanism, which will oversee 150 to 200 of the main eurozone banks "is considered to be crucial to re-establishing confidence in the euro,” writes the newspaper.

Cover

European banking supervision – De Volkskrant

Serbia’s richest businessman, Miroslav Mišković, has been arrested over allegations he embezzled €30m in the course of the privatisation of several road construction companies. Announced several weeks in advance, his arrest is part of a highly publicised anti-corruption drive, demanded by Brussels within the framework of measures to prepare for Serbia’s accession to the EU.

Cover

From throne to jail – Blic

Two Catalan nationalist parties, Convergencia i Unió (CiU) which controls the region’s government, and the left-wing Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) have agreed to organise a referendum on Catalan independence on an unspecified date in 2014. CiU, which is led by the region’s president Artur Mas, needed the support of the ERC to form a government in the wake of elections on November 25. The two parties are still discussing plans to cut spending in the region.

Cover

CiU and ERC form pact calling for independence referendum in 2014 – El País

Several thousand students have demonstrated in Budapest for the second time this week. They are protesting against education reforms, approved by parliament last week, which will reduce the number of places in state universities, cut the number of state scholarships, and introduce tuition fees of up to €1,150 per semester.

Cover

Student resistance hardens – Népszabadság

The attorney general ordered a police raid on Deutsche Bank’s headquarters in Frankfurt as well as a number of offices and apartments throughout the country as part of a tax fraud probe. The co-chairman of the executive board of Germany’s biggest bank, Jürgen Fitschen, along with a member of its supervisory board, are suspected of fraudulently evading taxes on carbon emissions credits. The bank bought untaxed carbon credits on foreign markets, which it then sold cheaply in Germany before applying for a refund of VAT that was never paid. The scale of the fraud may exceed €310m, which was the amount taken by a group of six employees of the bank who received jail sentences in 2011.

Cover

Prosecutor investigates Deutsche Bank chief Fitschen – Frankfurter Rundschau

The European Union is expected to demand “significant progress” on the manner in which the Swiss government intends to transpose EU legislation into Swiss law. The demand will be a condition for further negotiations on access to sectors of the European market, such as the electricity sector.

Cover

EU to demand ‘significant progress’ from Bern – Le Temps

According to a report commissioned by the country’s federal and regional governments, all of Belgium’s power could be sourced from renewables by 2050. But for this to happen "solar panels will need to be installed on every roof, the number of wind turbines will have to be multiplied by 10, and maximum use will need to be made of other renewable sources.” The investment required to implement the plan is estimated to be between €300bn and €400bn — ”the equivalent of the country’s annual GDP.”

Cover

Belgium can run on 100% green energy – De Standaard