Finance ministers in Luxembourg were trying on Friday (June 21) to resolve one of the most difficult questions posed by Europe's banking crisis - how to shut failed banks without sowing panic or burdening taxpayers.

The European Union spent the equivalent of a third of its economic output on saving its banks between 2008 and 2011, plundering taxpayer cash but struggling to contain the crisis and - in the case of Ireland - almost bankrupting the country.

But countries are divided over how strict the new rules should be, with some worried that imposing losses on depositors could prompt a bank run while others argue the rules of the game must be made clear from the start.

A 300-page draft EU law that forms the basis of discussions recommends a pecking order in which first bank shareholders would take losses, then bondholders and finally depositors with more than 100,000 euros (£85,000) in their account.

That would make the harsh treatment of savers that was part of Cyprus's bailout in March a permanent feature of Europe's response to future banking crises. EU countries would be required to follow these rules when closing banks.

The rules to impose losses on savers, whether wealthy individuals or companies, could be made stricter within the euro zone, in particular for banks seeking help from the single currency's rescue fund.

Agreeing EU-wide norms would address Germany's demand that European rules on closing banks be in place before the 17-nation euro zone's bailout fund can help banks in trouble.

Sweden, Britain and France say countries should have the final word in deciding how to close banks and not be tightly bound by any new EU rules.

But Germany, the Netherlands and Austria want regulations that will be applied in the same way across all 27 countries in the European Union. They fear that granting too much national leeway would undermine the new law.

Presented by Adam Justice