Monday, 23 October 2017

EU Commission announces measures for completing the Banking Union

As announced by President Juncker in his State of the Union Address the EU Commission issued a Communication on the measures it will take for the completion of the banking union. The banking union is seen by the Commission as essential for the good functioning of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and its ambitious goal is for the banking union to be completed by 2019. For that purpose, a range of initiatives were announced. This post will focus on the two developments which are more relevant for consumer law which are: the measures on the European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS) and on reducing the level of non-performing loans (NPLs). 

EDIS is a key component for the Banking Union as it will ensure that all depositors in the EU enjoy the same level of protection and the banking system will be more resilient against future crises. Unfortunately, though the Proposal for EDIS was brought in November 2015, the negotiations between the EU Parliament and the Council have been brought to a halt as there is limited political consensus. In order to address the concerns voiced during the negotiations, the EU Commission suggests that EDIS will be introduced more gradually, taking into account the progress made on risk reduction. In the first re-insurance phase, EDIS would provide only liquidity coverage and no loss coverage. Also, the move to the second phase of co-insurance would not be automatic but only when certain conditions, such as the level of Non-Performing Loans, would be satisfied. Furthermore, measures would be taken to enhance cooperation between national deposit guarantee schemes, national authorities, the Single Resolution Board and the European Banking Authority. The Commission is keen to achieve progress in negotiations aiming to adopt the proposal in 2018.

As for Non-Performing Loans (NPLs), while their level has fallen, they continue to present an important systemic risk and the EU Commission takes a holistic approach in tackling the problem of existing NPLs as well as taking steps to ensure they do not build up again in the future. Part of that is regulating Asset Management Companies, developing secondary markets for NPLs and enhancing the protection of secured creditors. Another measure that might prove interesting also for legal scientists is that of increased transparency on NPLs in Europe as more data will be available and comparable, making it possible to examine the NPLs market in different jurisdictions and on an EU level.

The completion of the Banking Union would be a positive development also for EU consumers and hopefully serve to avoid a repetition of the recent financial crisis. Do you think the new measures announced are a step in the right direction? Please share your view in the comments.

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