The European Commission has requested Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Malta, Poland, Romania and Sweden to fully implement the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD). This Directive (2014/59/EU) is a centrepiece of the EU's Banking Union that was put in place to create a safer and sounder financial sector in the wake of the financial crisis.
The new BRRD rules equip national authorities with the necessary tools and powers to mitigate and manage the distress or failure of banks or large investment firms in all EU Member States. The objective is to ensure that banks on the verge of insolvency can be restructured without taxpayers having to pay for failing banks to safeguard financial stability. Instead, they provide for shareholders and creditors of the banks to pay their share of the costs through a "bail-in" mechanism.
The deadline for the transposition of these rules into national law was 31 December 2014 (see IP/14/2862). However, 11 EU countries have failed to implement these rules into their national law.
The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion, the second stage of the EU infringement procedures. If these countries fail to comply within two months, the Commission may decide to refer them to the EU Court of Justice.
Since 2008, the European Commission has adopted number of measures to ensure the stability of financial and banking services. The Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) was adopted in Spring 2014 to provide authorities with comprehensive and effective arrangements to deal with failing banks at national level, as well as cooperation arrangements to tackle cross-border banking failures (see IP/12/570).
Under BRRD, banks are required to prepare recovery plans to overcome financial distress. Authorities are also granted a set of powers to intervene in the operations of banks to avoid them failing. If they do face failure, authorities are equipped with comprehensive powers and tools to restructure them, allocating losses to shareholders and creditors following a clearly defined hierarchy. They have the powers to implement plans to resolve failed banks in a way that preserves their most critical functions and avoids taxpayers having to bail them out.
There are precise arrangements setting out how home and host authorities of banking groups should cooperate in all stages of cross-border resolution, from resolution planning to resolution itself, with a strong role for the European Banking Authority to coordinate and mediate in case of disagreements.
National resolution funds are also being established. In the case of euro area Member States, these funds will be replaced by the Single Resolution Fund as of 2016.
The BRRD is being further complemented by technical rules developed by the European Banking Authority on a number of subjects, including concrete information requirements for recovery and resolution plans and securing accurate valuations of assets and losses at the point of resolution.
On the May infringement package decisions: MEMO/15/5053
On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12
For more information on infringement procedures: