||The doctoral dissertation analyses the recent overhaul of the EU banking policy framework in 2012–2016 with the aim of answering two interrelated questions. First, why did the euro area member states decide to surrender national control over their banking systems by creating a banking union despite the fact that similar proposals had been constantly rejected in the past? Second, what accounts for the content of the established banking union? The research argues that the European sovereign debt crisis and, more specifically, its Spanish episode in the first half of 2012 were a necessary but insufficient condition for the European leaders’ historic decision. Building on a deterministic interpretation of punctuated equilibrium theory, the author explains the creation of the banking union by three intervening factors: interdependence of the euro area member states that led to changes in the EU banking policy image held by the governments of the largest euro area states, and the politicisation of the related banking policy-making venue. Having showed that the content of the final agreements corresponded to the identified ‘preventive’ banking union type, the author argues that it can be best explained by the interaction of preference intensity of member states and political legitimacy of their national positions. Accordingly, the research explains the content of the banking union by the exposure of German banks’ to the most stressed Southern euro area member states at the start of negotiations and the German government’s ‘rhetorical entrapment’ at later stages. It is also argued that the entire EU bargaining process was facilitated by ‘constructive ambiguity’ related to the finality of the banking union.