European Central Bank head Mario Draghi says governments must act quickly to set up an authority that can wind down busted banks and protect states from heavy losses.

Draghi said Monday in the text of a speech in Amsterdam that the 17 euro countries need such an authority to have the power to restructure or close down banks.

Troubled banks have contributed to the bloc's three-year debt crisis. Most recently, they helped pull down the public finances of Cyprus, which became the latest eurozone country to need a bailout.

Draghi said such an authority would wind up banks "without reinforcing the vicious link between banks" and government finances.

European leaders have said they intend to set up such a resolution authority but action on the proposal has lagged.