Opinion

Why euro-zone ‘outs’ should join banking union

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

By: and Date: February 11, 2016 European Macroeconomics & Governance Tags & Topics

In the furore over Brexit, observers have overlooked the benefits that banking union could bring to the UK and other euro-zone ‘outs’.

During the financial crisis, European leaders agreed to create a banking union that would break the link between failing banks and sovereigns. Although it is usually seen as a euro-zone initiative, joining banking union could also provide a stable arrangement for managing financial stability for the UK and other non-Euro countries.

At the moment London is not only an international financial centre, but also the gateway to Europe for the large US and Swiss investment banks. Such banks use their UK banking licence as a passport for their operations throughout the European Union.

Brexit would make this arrangement impossible.  There is already speculation that international banks might move their European headquarters from London to Dublin, Frankfurt, or even Amsterdam.

All large European banks have operations in London, including major banks like Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and ING. In recent research we found evidence of strong cross-border banking claims, including for the United Kingdom.

The question is how to manage financial stability in the light of these interconnections. Outside the banking union, the governments of the euro-zone ‘outs’ are the ultimate fiscal backstop for their own banks, responsible for bailing them out in times of crisis.

For Sweden, that is the case for Nordea Bank, which has large operations in the banking union, in Finland and the Baltics. Sweden would have to finance a potential bailout on its own. In a similar way, the UK government is charged with ensuring the stability of the UK financial system.

Outside the banking union, the governments of the euro-zone ‘outs’ are responsible for bailing them out in times of crisis.

 

The global financial crisis has shown that such a backstop function can be costly for governments, but they could manage financial stability jointly within the banking union rather than independently.

National authorities would then share supervisory responsibility with the European Central Bank. The responsibility for resolution would rest with the new Single Resolution Board. Importantly, the Single Resolution Fund would facilitate burden sharing in a banking crisis.

The ‘outs’ could even join banking union without joining the euro.

The ‘outs’ could even join banking union without joining the euro. While banking union is mandatory for the euro countries, the ‘outs’ can opt-in. Opting-in makes sense for managing financial stability, as it would allow an integrated approach towards supervision, avoiding ring fencing of activities and therefore a higher cost of funding. It would also simplify bank resolution, avoiding coordination failure.


Republishing and referencing

Bruegel considers itself a public good and takes no institutional standpoint.

Due to copyright agreements we ask that you kindly email request to republish opinions that have appeared in print to communication@bruegel.org.

View comments
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

Schoenmaker pic
Nicolas Véron

EBA relocation should support a long-term ‘twin peaks’ vision

As the Commission launches a review of European financial supervision, the authors argue that Europe needs to move towards a twin peaks model – dividing supervision of prudential and conduct-of-business issues. But this is a long-term vision, and will require institution building. The immediate priorities are to choose a new home for the EBA and reinforce ESMA.

By: Dirk Schoenmaker and Nicolas Véron Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: April 5, 2017
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Silvia Merler

Italian banks: not quiet on the eastern front

Italian banks are back in the spotlight. After MPS failed to raise enough capital from private investors earlier this year, Banco Popolare di Vicenza (BPVI) and Veneto Banca take centre stage. The story of these two banks epitomises the strategy of delayed reform that has been so characteristic of the Italian banking crisis.

By: Silvia Merler Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: March 31, 2017
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

Zsolt Darvas
DSC_0798
dsc_1000

The UK’s Brexit bill: what are the possible liabilities?

The EU-UK financial settlement will be a complex part of the Brexit negotiations. Here the authors estimate that at end-2018 the EU will have outstanding commitments and liabilities totalling €724bn. Most of these relate to spending after the UK’s likely departure date, but are tied to commitments made during the UK’s EU membership.

By: Zsolt Darvas, Konstantinos Efstathiou and Inês Goncalves Raposo Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: March 30, 2017
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

Zsolt Darvas
DSC_0798
dsc_1000

Brexit bill negotiators must answer these 12 questions

Is Brexit a divorce, or is the UK leaving a club? This is the first question to answer as negotatiors discuss the key aspects of the EU-UK financial settlement. The authors present various scenarios, and find that the UK could be expected to pay between €25.4 billion and €65.1 billion. But the final cost can only be calculated after extensive political negotiations.

By: Zsolt Darvas, Konstantinos Efstathiou and Inês Goncalves Raposo Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: March 30, 2017
Read article Download PDF More on this topic

Working Paper

WP_2017_03 cover

Divorce settlement or leaving the club? A breakdown of the Brexit bill

To bring transparency to the debate on the Brexit bill and to foster a quick agreement, the authors of this Working Paper make a comprehensive attempt to quantify the various assets and liabilities that might factor in the financial settlement.

By: Zsolt Darvas, Konstantinos Efstathiou and Inês Goncalves Raposo Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: March 30, 2017
Read article More by this author

Blog Post

Giuseppe Porcaro

29 charts that explain Brexit

From financial services to the creative industry, from trade to migration, this selection of charts maps out the troubled waters of Brexit, and provides a compass through blogs and publications Bruegel scholars have written on the topic.

By: Giuseppe Porcaro Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: March 28, 2017
Read article Download PDF More on this topic More by this author

Policy Contribution

PC 07 2017 cover

What happened to global banking after the crisis?

The global financial crisis allegedly led to the end of global banking. However, Dirk Schoenmaker finds that reports of the demise of global banking are premature.

By: Dirk Schoenmaker Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: March 14, 2017
Read article More by this author

Parliamentary Testimony

House of Lords

Brexit: EU budget

On 25 January 2017 Zsolt Darvas appeared as a witness at the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union, Financial Affairs Sub-Committee.

By: Zsolt Darvas Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, House of Lords, Testimonies Date: March 7, 2017
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

Schoenmaker pic
Nicolas Véron

Brexit should drive integration of EU capital markets

Brexit offers EU-27 countries a chance to take some of London’s financial services activity. But there is also a risk of market fragmentation, which could lead to less effective supervision and higher borrowing costs. To get the most out of Brexit, the EU financial sector needs a beefed up ESMA.

By: Dirk Schoenmaker and Nicolas Véron Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: February 24, 2017
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

unnamed
Simone Tagliapietra

Brexit goes nuclear: The consequences of leaving Euratom

The UK Government has confirmed that it will withdraw from Euratom. But what does Euratom actually do? And what will happen when the UK leaves? The authors find major risks, potential costs and open questions.

By: Enrico Nano and Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate Date: February 21, 2017
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

Zsolt Darvas
DSC_0798
dsc_1000

The Brexit bill: uncertainties in the estimate of EU pension and sickness insurance liabilities

Pension and sickness insurance liabilities for EU staff could be an especially contentious part of negotiations on an EU-UK financial settlement: the “Brexit bill”. This post looks behind the calculation of the alleged cost of pension benefits and concludes that it may be less than half of what it seems.

By: Zsolt Darvas, Konstantinos Efstathiou and Inês Goncalves Raposo Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: February 17, 2017
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

Zsolt Darvas
DSC_0798
dsc_1000

The UK’s Brexit bill: could EU assets partially offset liabilities?

The ‘Brexit bill’ is likely to be one of the most contentious aspects of the upcoming negotiations. But estimates so far focus largely on the EU costs and liabilities that the UK will have to buy its way out of. What about the EU’s assets? The UK will surely get a share of those, and they could total €153.7bn.

By: Zsolt Darvas, Konstantinos Efstathiou and Inês Goncalves Raposo Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: February 14, 2017
Load more posts