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Exceptions to the exceptional nature of State aid for banks

Exceptions to the exceptional nature of State aid for banks

The objective of severing the link between banks and the sovereign is pursued more vigorously in the case of normal resolution than in the case of liquidation. Precautionary recapitalisation also allows for State aid without triggering assistance by the SRF or national resolution funds. State aid for banks is not a thing of the past. The SRB decisions concerning the Spanish Banco Popular and the Italian Veneto Banca and Banca Popolare di Vicenza were the first ever measures adopted by the SRB on the basis of the SRMR. On 8 August 2017, the “Financial Times” published an interview with Elke König, the Chair of the SRB. In the interview she was reported to have said that “state aid guidelines adopted by the European Commission in 2013 were in effect out of date”. She was in favour of revision of the Banking Communication in order to close the “loopholes” that allowed aid for liquidation. But there is a weakness in both the SRMR and the Banking Communication. On the one hand, the SRMR allows liquidation to be carried out under national rules. This the correct approach, given that the EU has no specific rules or procedures on insolvency. But if the liabilities which are bailed-in are not enough, then there seems to be no reason why the SRF should not make a contribution before State aid is granted. This would further de-link bank debt from sovereign debt. A revision of the SRMR may also be necessary.[…]