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European Commission

Top News

Brussels, Friday 11 April 2014

Top News from the European Commission
12 April – 9 May 2014

Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists
The European Commission reserves the right to make changes

Tuesday 15 April: Completing the banking union: European Parliament votes on 3 key legislative texts

The news:

Since the start of the financial crisis, the European Union and its Member States have engaged in a fundamental overhaul of bank regulation and supervision.

As the financial crisis evolved and turned into the eurozone debt crisis in 2010/11 it became clear that, for those countries which shared a currency, more had to be done, in particular to break the vicious circle between banks and national finances.

In June 2012, Heads of State and Government agreed to create a banking union to centralise the delivery of EU-wide rules for the euro area (and any non-euro Member States that want to join).

All texts on which the banking union is being constructed are now in force or are due to be adopted by the European parliament during its next plenary session. They will be complemented by an Intergovernmental Agreement to be signed by Member States in May.

On 15 April, the European Parliament will vote on these 3 key texts to complete the legislative work underpinning the banking union.

  • Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) - rapporteur Mr Gunnar Hökmark

  • (Recast) Directive on Deposit Guarantee Schemes (DGS) - rapporteur Mr Peter Simon

  • Regulation on the Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) rapporteur Mrs Elisa Ferreira

On this occasion, Commissioner Barnier will be participating in a press conference jointly with the three rapporteurs.

The background:

The profound reform of the European banking sector aims to make it more robust and resilient, to reduce the impact of potential bank failures, and ensure the financial sector is at the service of the real economy.

The eurozone crisis highlighted the potentially vicious circle between banks and sovereign debt. The need for a better governed and deeper economic and monetary union for a single currency to work in the long run became clear. For that circle to be broken, a more robust financial sector is not enough. In particular for countries which share a currency, a deeper more integrated approach is necessary - basically ensuring centralised delivery of the rules for all 28 Member States.

This is why EU Heads of State and Government committed to a banking union in June 2012. The vision was further developed in the European Commission's blueprint for economic and monetary union in November 2012.

The first leg of the banking union is now in place with the Single Supervisory Mechanism: the ECB will be the ultimate supervisor of all 6000 banks in the euro area as from autumn 2014. In the meantime, a comprehensive assessment of the banks' financial health is being carried out.

On 15th April, the European Parliament is due to adopt the second leg of the banking union, the Single Resolution Mechanism, which will allow bank crises to be managed more effectively, along with two legislative proposals on which the banking union is building the recast Directive on Deposit Guarantees Scheme and the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive.

The event:

Joint press conference with Commissioner Michel Barnier and the rapporteurs of the texts due to be adopted in Strasbourg at 16:00.

  • Available on EbS

Statement and MEMO will be available on the day.

The sources:

The contacts:

Chantal Hughes +32 2 296 44 50

Audrey Augier +32 2 297 16 07

Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94

Wednesday 16 April: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package

The news:

On Wednesday 16 April 2014, the European Commission will adopt its monthly infringements package. These decisions cover all Member States and most of EU policies and seek to enforce EU law across Europe in the interest of both citizens and businesses.

The background:

Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) gives the Commission the power to take legal action against a Member State that is not respecting its obligations under EU law.

There are three successive stages: Letter of formal notice, reasoned opinion and referral to the Court of Justice.

If, despite the ruling, a Member State still fails to act, the Commission may open a further infringement case under Article 260 of the TFEU. After only one written warning, Commission may refer a Member State back to the Court and it can propose that the Court imposes financial penalties based on the duration and severity on the infringement and the size of the Member State.

The event:

A comprehensive Memo on all referrals and reasoned opinions, specific IPs on each referral and a Memo on the procedure will be available on the day on Rapid:

The sources:

For more information on infringements:

On the general infringement procedure: MEMO/12/12

The contacts:

Overall coordination:

Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07

On specific infringements, please contact the spokesperson in charge.

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