Brussels, 6 November 2012
State aid: Commission approves Cypriot bank guarantee scheme
The European Commission has authorised, under EU State aid rules, a Cypriot state guarantee scheme for credit institutions until 31 December 2012. The purpose of the scheme is to facilitate the access of eligible credit institutions to medium-term funding. This will help maintaining stability in the Cyprus financial sector without creating undue distortions of competition, in line with EU state aid rules.
In October 2012, Cyprus notified plans to introduce a public guarantee scheme for credit institutions. The guarantees will be covering, against remuneration and eligible collateral, new loans concluded and/or new bonds issued before 31 December 2012, with a maturity of up to five years.
The Commission found the scheme to be in line with its guidance on state aid to banks during the crisis (see IP/08/1495 , IP/10/1636) and, in particular, with its rules on the pricing and conditions for state guarantees (see IP/11/1488). The measure is targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. In particular, the scheme is open to all credit institutions incorporated in Cyprus, including subsidiaries of foreign banks and cooperative credit institutions. Beneficiaries have to pay a remuneration that is aligned with EU state aid rules.
Moreover, beneficiaries will be subject to behavioural commitments to avoid any abusive use of the state support. These include limitations on expansion and marketing and conditions for staff remuneration and bonus payments. Finally, Cyprus has committed to notify viability plans for companies making intensive use of the scheme.
The Commission has, therefore, concluded that the guarantee scheme is an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Cyprus economy and is as such compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
During the financial and economic crisis, the Commission has been authorising guarantee schemes on banks’ liabilities for periods of six months, in order to be able to monitor developments and adjust conditions accordingly, in line with its extraordinary crisis state aid rules. In line with other recent decisions (see IP/11/673), where these six months periods were defined as the first or second half of the calendar year, the Cyprus scheme is authorised until 31 December 2012.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.35499 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News
Antoine Colombani (+32 2 297 45 13)
Maria Madrid Pina (+32 2 295 45 30)