(ANSA) - Brussels, December 18 - Italian Finance Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni on Wednesday said he is optimistic a deal on European banking union is imminent. "Steps forward have been made in the direction we hoped for and I am confident an accord will be reached," the minister told reporters at the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN). The aim of the banking union is to make the EU's financial system more resilient to future crises. Finance ministers of the 28 EU-member States are meeting in a bid to reach agreement on the so-called Single Resolution Mechanism, which is a centralized authority to wind down problem banks. A deal appeared closer after eurozone ministers agreed in the early hours of the morning to jointly back a fund for collapsing banks.