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Europe took its first big step towards banking union early on Thursday morning, as eurozone finance ministers agreed a plan to cede power to a common bank supervisor in Frankfurt. After almost four months of fraught diplomacy that laid bare deep Franco-German divisions, finance ministers brokered terms for the European Central Bank to begin direct supervision of up to 200 eurozone lenders from early 2014. The reform requires governments to surrender jealously guarded control over national banks, in the most concerted financial integration project since the creation of the single currency. (FT.COM)

The 2013 EU budget has been agreed after MEPs signed off on a deal worth €132.8 billion in Strasbourg on Wednesday. The agreement breaks months of deadlock between MEPs, the Commission and national governments. It increases EU spending next year by just €3.8 billion, over €5 billion less than the sums demanded by MEPs and the EU executive. It also includes a controversial deal providing just €6.1 billion of emergency funding to the Commission to cover outstanding bills from 2012. (EUOBSERVER.COM)

Greece is due to receive the latest tranche of bailout funds needed to keep the economy afloat later on today. (BBC.CO.UK)

Poland‘s national carrier LOT has asked the government for 400 million zloty as the first part of an aid package for the ailing airline, the Finance Ministry has confirmed. “The Ministry of the Treasury has been preparing to assist the public company for a month now,” confirms Katarzyna Kozlowska, a spokeswoman for the Finance Ministry, adding that the finance package, which could be worth up to one billion zloty (€250 million) in total, will be tied to job cuts and other cost cutting measures. (THENEWS.PL)

Latvian prime minister Valdis Dombrovskis has defended his country‘s continued push to join the eurozone. Speaking in Brussels, he said that the future of the former Baltic Tiger “depends on more integration, not less“. Latvia is, he said, on track to join the eurozone in 2014 even though some have predicted a break-up in the structure before then. (THEPARLIAMENT.COM)

Germany‘s parliament passed a law on Wednesday to allow religious circumcision, clarifying the legal situation after a court said the rite amounted to grievous bodily harm in a ruling that caused international uproar. (THELOCAL.DE)

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