BERLIN — Germany wants to see the results of stress tests for banks in the European Union to be made public in an effort to restore market confidence, a finance ministry official said Thursday.

The comment marks a turn-about in Germany's position — previously it had opposed publication of the tests checking the banks' stability, citing fears the results could spook investors.

But the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department policy, said that in the current financial situation, full transparency is more important and could be a "stabilizing and helpful factor."

"It always depends on the market environment," he said, adding that Germany will push for the publication at the EU-level.

The matter was likely to be discussed as early as Thursday in Brussels, where the EU's 27 leaders are holding a summit which initially was to focus on solutions for the bloc's long-term economic strategy.

Diplomats say most European governments are also in favor of publishing banking "stress tests" for the first time, as the U.S. did in 2009 to show how much capital the country's 19 biggest banks needed to raise to cope with more losses.

Markets remain jittery since Greece was save from bankruptcy by a bailout and fears persist that other European countries could have trouble paying back their loans. European banks are among the biggest holders of those nations' government debt.

Stress tests give an estimate of what potential losses financial institutions could be facing. If a result shows that an institution can't cope with necessary write-downs in case of a worsening market environment, the bank is required to increase its capital ratio.

The debate of making bank results public was revived this week by Spain, which said it would publish the stress tests in an effort to calm market worries, after speculation about its allegedly shaky banking system spooked investors.

"By announcing its intention to publish the results, Spain has raised the stakes and markets' expectations — now it will need to show that it is up to the challenge," UniCredit's chief economist, based in London, said in a research note on Thursday.

If this transparency effort is successful and other countries follow suit, Europe could "finally clear the air on the health of its financial system," Marco Annunziata said.

Spain, which is heavily indebted, faces high unemployment, poor growth prospects and tumbling house prices, came under fire recently as markets started questioning its ability to refinance.

However, the country passed a key test on Thursday with a successful auction of 10- and 30-year Treasury bonds. The auctions were oversubscribed 1.89 and 2.45 times, respectively, and sent the euro rallying against the dollar.

The chief executive of Germany's biggest lender, Deutsche Bank's Josef Ackermann, last week welcomed the idea of publishing the stress tests, but insisted it would also require a mechanism for recapitalizing troubled banks to be in place.

A spokesman for the Association of German Banks also cautiously welcomed the initiative. If the publication is properly done, with the necessary accompanying information putting the results in context, it can contribute to restoring market trust, Lars Hofer told the AP.

He warned, however, that it could be dangerous to single out certain banks or publish the raw information without properly explaining it. "Given the current market situation, this could be a considerable risk."

Associated Press Writers Aoife White in Brussels and Daniel Woolls in Madrid contributed to this report.