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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 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

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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Blog Post

Europe’s banking union should learn the right lessons from the US

In revived discussions on European banking union, some have suggested a new regime to deal with failing banks, alongside existing ones, drawn from parts of the United States’ bank resolution framework. This fragmented approach could be counterproductive. Europe should adopt a unitary regime, like the US, that applies to all banks irrespective of size.

By: Anna Gelpern and Nicolas Véron Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: October 29, 2020
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Past Event

Past Event

Completing the banking union in the age of Next Generation EU

Invitation only event to discuss the banking union.

Speakers: Tuomas Saarenheimo and Nicolas Véron Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: October 27, 2020
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Opinion

The EU’s Opportunity to Turn Its Markets Toward the Future

Meeting the fiscal demands of COVID-19 will require the European Union to borrow on capital markets more than ever, and for European pension funds and households to look more widely for ways to build their nest eggs safely. The EU should take the challenges of the pandemic and Brexit as a chance to get its financial infrastructure house in order.

By: Rebecca Christie Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: July 16, 2020
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Policy Contribution

Should Denmark and Sweden join the banking Union?

Though outside the euro area, Denmark and Sweden could benefit from joining the European Union’s banking union. It would provide protection in case of any need to resolve at national level a large bank with a Scandinavian footprint, and would mark a choice in favour of more cross-border banking. But joining the banking union would also involve some loss of decision-making power.

By: Dirk Schoenmaker and Svend E. Hougaard Jensen Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: June 24, 2020
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Podcast

Podcast

Rebooting Europe: a framework for post COVID-19 economic recovery

COVID-19 has triggered a severe recession and policymakers in European Union countries are providing generous, largely indiscriminate, support to companies. As the recession gets deeper, a more comprehensive strategy is needed. This should be based on four principles: viability of supported entities, fairness, achieving societal goals, and giving society a share in future profits. The effort should be structured around equity and recovery funds with borrowing at EU level.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: May 15, 2020
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Opinion

Save markets to save the single market

It’s time for the EU to make quick and indispensable progress in forming a capital markets union.

By: Maria Demertzis Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: May 15, 2020
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Past Event

Past Event

The Sound of Economics Live: Banks and Loan Losses in the Pandemic Turmoil

At this online event we will record an episode of the Sound of Economics, Bruegel's podcast series. In this episode, we discuss the implications of the coronavirus crisis on financial stability and credit availability.

Speakers: Giuseppe Porcaro, Nicolas Véron and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: March 25, 2020
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Podcast

Podcast

Can the European Green Deal kill the single market?

The European Green Deal is one of the landmarks of Ursula von der Leyen's Commission. But, without an ambitious investment behind it, what could be its potential implications for the EU? Could it go as far as to threaten the EU's single market? This week, Renew Europe's vice-president, MEP Luis Garicano, joins Guntram Wolff and Maria Demertzis to discuss not only the European Green Deal but also the EU Budget and the Banking Union. Disclaimer: this episode was recorded on the 20th of February, before Bruegel hosted the event "The Ressurection of the European Banking Union".

By: The Sound of Economics and Bruegel Topic: Energy & Climate Date: February 25, 2020
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Past Event

Past Event

The resurrection of the European Banking Union

At this event, Luis Garicano, member of the European Parliament, presented his two proposals to resurrect the European Banking Union: "a Safe Portfolio" and "a Single Resolution Board +".

Speakers: Tom Dechaene, Luis Garicano, Michala Marcussen and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: February 20, 2020
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Past Event

Past Event

Take a chance on me: Sweden considers the Banking Union

This event will discuss if Sweden should join the European banking union and the general state of the union.

Speakers: Fredrik Bystedt, Elena Carletti, Maria Demertzis and Pawel Gąsiorowski Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: January 29, 2020
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Opinion

European capital markets union, by rule and by choice

While the euro is now a leading global currency and the European Central Bank has become a comprehensive banking supervisor, Europe’s markets have been treading water.

By: Rebecca Christie Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: January 23, 2020
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Policy Contribution

Crisis management for euro-area banks in central Europe

Euro-area bank integration has decreased as post-financial crisis national rules require banks to hold more capital at home. It might be undermined further by bank resolution planning. Either a Single Resolution Board takes the lead for the entire banking group or independent local intervention schemes need to be developed for crisis resolution.

By: Alexander Lehmann and Bruegel Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: November 19, 2019
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