European Union finance ministers have reached an agreement to create a single supervisor for their banks - one of the most significant transfers of authority from national governments to regional authorities since the creation of the euro currency.
Under the deal, banks with more than €30bn (£24bn) in assets supervised or those that represent a significant proportion of their national economies will be placed under the oversight of the European Central Bank.
The deal gives the ECB broad powers, including the ability to grant and withdraw banking licences, investigate institutions, and financially sanction banks that do not follow the rules.
Perhaps most important is that it paves the way for Europe's rescue fund to directly rescue the continent's troubled banks.
French finance minister Pierre Moscovici said: "It's real progress that opens up interesting possibilities." But he did not give a specific date for when the first banks could seek direct aid.
That step is crucial because weak banks remain at the core of Europe's financial problems.
European leaders want to shield troubled governments from the burden of supporting their banks.
The magnitude of the deal was reflected in the size of the fight. Countries that do not use the euro worried that their voices in the body that creates banking regulation - the European Banking Authority - would be drowned out by the new euro-machine.
The EBA sets all the rules that govern EU banking, and Britain in particular - a non-euro country with Europe's largest banking sector - was nervous that the new supervision would mean all the banks under the ECB would vote together at the EBA, effectively steamrollering everyone else.
Ministers reached a compromise ensuring measures cannot pass in the EBA without at least some support from countries outside the ECB's supervision.