Ministers from eurozone countries have made progress towards creating a bank fund for dealing with failing banks.
Banks will be charged a levy which will build up a 55bn euro (£46.5bn, $76bn) fund over 10 years. If there is not enough money in the pot, national governments can supply funds, or borrow to do so.
Senior figures said the talks, which broke up very early on Wednesday, had made a “crucial breakthrough”.
More talks are planned later.
These will include the wider group that will bring in finance ministers from all 28 countries in the European Union, as well as those from the 17 countries that form the eurozone.
Olli Rehn, the EU economic affairs commissioner, said: “We have reached a crucial breakthrough.”
The outline plan for a Single Resolution Fund (SRF) is one favoured by Germany, which was keen to avoid leaving taxpayers paying for any future bank bailouts.