BERLIN (AFP) - Germany on Friday called for a Europe-wide ban on short-selling shares after four of its EU partners banned the speculative practice for two weeks to combat false rumours rocking the markets. Berlin backed measures by France, Italy, Spain and Belgium to stop short-selling in bank shares but urged Europe to go further to calm the waters as the EU said it was very close to a deal on regulation of such instruments. Britain, however, said it had no plans to follow suit. The German government has been monitoring the problem of short-selling for some time and thus banned naked short-selling in Germany last year. In addition we are calling for a broad short-selling ban in Europe, a finance ministry spokesman said. It is the only way to tackle destructive speculation convincingly. The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) said the four countries coordinated action aimed to restrict the benefits that can be achieved from spreading false rumours or to achieve a regulatory level playing field, given the close inter-linkage between some EU markets. EU internal markets commissioner Michel Barniers spokeswoman said he called for a comprehensive compromise so a deal can be reached in September enabling member states to rein in speculative high-risk trading instruments. The ban echoes steps taken at the height of the global financial crisis sparked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and reflects deep concern over the current turmoil as Europe tries to tame a deepening debt crisis. When investors opt to short sell stocks, they are betting that they will fall in price, allowing them to buy them later much cheaper and pocket the difference. Supporters claim the practice allows investors a hedge against risk but critics say it only adds to the downward pressure in falling markets and serves no real purpose beyond a grab for short-term profit. Naked short-selling, the practice Germany stopped last year on certain securities, can be even riskier because the trader does not borrow the stock or bond before it is traded. European markets opened lower Friday but as investors took on board the short-selling ban, banks got a boost and they moved into positive territory. But banks, and French banking giant Societe Generale in particular, have been among the hardest hit by concerns over their exposure to Greek debt, with many lenders reporting increased provisions on their loans to Athens. The provisions have gone down badly in fearful markets where speculation about the financial health of the banks has been rife despite the lenders and the authorities efforts to reassure investors that there is no underlying problem. While short-selling can be a valid trading strategy, when used in combination with spreading false market rumours this is clearly abusive, the EMSA said. Britains Financial Services Authority said Friday that it had no plans for a similar ban because the current system was transparent enough. We have an existing short-selling disclosure regime around financial stocks in place and we continue to monitor the activity in our markets accordingly, it said. The German banking association was also sceptical, calling for a reasonable, European-wide policy on short-selling as opposed to a blanket ban.