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Policy Contribution

What kind of European banking union?

This policy contribution discusses in detail how a future banking union could be organised by examining seven fundamental choices that decision makers will need to make.

By: , , and Date: June 25, 2012 European Macroeconomics & Governance Tags & Topics

This paper discusses the creation of a European Banking Union. First, we discuss questions of design. We highlight seven fundamental choices that decision makers will need to make: Which EU countries should participate in the banking union? To which categories of banks should it apply? Which institution should be tasked with supervision? Which one should deal with resolution? How centralised should the deposit insurance system be? What kind of fiscal backing would be required? What governance framework and political institutions would be needed?

In terms of geographical scope, we see the coverage of the banking union of the euro area as necessary and of additional countries as desirable, even though this would entail important additional economic difficulties. The system should ideally cover all banks within the countries included, in order to prevent major competitive and distributional distortions. Supervisory authority should be granted either to both the ECB and a new agency, or to a new agency alone. National supervisors, acting under the authority of the European supervisor, would be tasked with the supervision of smaller banks in accordance with the subsidiarity principle. A European resolution authority should be established, with the possibility of drawing on ESM resources. A fully centralized deposit insurance system would eventually be desirable, but a system of partial reinsurance may also be envisaged at least in a first phase. A banking union would require at least implicit European fiscal backing, with significant political authority and legitimacy. Thus, banking union cannot be considered entirely separately from fiscal union and political union.

The most difficult challenge of creating a European banking union lies with the short-term steps towards its eventual implementation. Many banks in the euro area, and especially in the crisis countries, are currently under stress and the move towards banking union almost certainly has significant distributional implications. Yet it is precisely because banks are under such stress that early and concrete action is needed. An overarching principle for such action is to minimize the cost to the tax payers. The first step should be to create a European supervisor that will anchor the development of the future banking union. In parallel, a capability to quickly assess the true capital position of the system’s most important banks should be created, for which we suggest establishing a temporary European Banking Sector Task Force working together with the European supervisor and other authorities. Ideally, problems identified by this process should be resolved by national authorities; in case fiscal capacities would prove insufficient, the European level would take over in the country concerned with some national financial participation, or in an even less likely adverse scenario, in all participating countries at once. This approach would require the passing of emergency legislation in the concerned countries that would give the Task Force the required access to information and, if necessary, further intervention rights. Thus, the principle of fiscal responsibility of respective member states for legacy costs would be preserved to the maximum extent possible, and at the same time, market participants and the public would be reassured that adequate tools are in place to address any eventuality.

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Working Paper

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Reform of the European Union financial supervisory and regulatory architecture and its implications for Asia

This Working Paper reviews recent developments in the EU’s financial supervisory and regulatory architecture with a view to draw out lessons for regional financial regulatory architecture in Asia.

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Nicolas Véron argues that EU banking union can only be complete if the vast amounts of domestic sovereign debt held by many banks are reduced

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Policy Contribution

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What are the prerequisites for a euro-area fiscal capacity?

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By: Maria Demertzis and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: September 9, 2016
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Spain is among the countries still recovering from the financial crisis. While misjudged investments were part of the cause, these past mistakes could offer lessons for the European banking union.

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The new European banking supervision system is broadly effective and, in line with the claim often made by its leading officials, tough and fair, but there are significant areas for future improvement.

By: Dirk Schoenmaker and Nicolas Véron Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: June 8, 2016
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Blueprint

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European banking supervision: the first eighteen months

The Blueprint provides a review of the first 18 months of European banking supervision. It reviews the overall situation and the situation in a number of euro-area countries. It provides important insights into the start of a new policy regime that involves profound change for the European banking landscape

By: Dirk Schoenmaker and Nicolas Véron Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: June 8, 2016
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Italy's Atlas bank bailout fund: the shareholder of last resort

Italy’s new bank fund Atlas might be what is needed in the short run, but in the longer term the fund will increase systemic risk. What ultimately matters is how this initiative will affect the quality of bank governance, a key issue for the future resilience of the system.

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Opinion

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Concerns about Europe’s banks contributed to turmoil in global financial markets in February, but Europe’s new banking sector policy regime should gradually help reduce uncertainty.

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Policy Contribution

The United States dominates global investment banking: does it matter for Europe?

The United States dominates global investment banking: does it matter for Europe?

Europe’s banks are in retreat from playing a global investment banking role, and this trend is likely to continue in the future. What will be the consequences and what should be the policy response?

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Joining the banking union could provide a stable arrangement for managing financial stability for the UK and other non-Euro countries.

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