Bank crisis resolution and ECB mandate: opening salvoes 

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Draft EU bank crisis resolution legislation must reflect recent thinking on a banking union, and the European Central Bank's mandate could be overhauled to match the new position of the institution, said Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee MEPs on Wednesday, in opening debates on these issues.

 The committee's report on bank crisis resolution legislation is due in November, and its opinion on the ECB's 2011 activity report in October.

The ECB's new status

The ECB activities debate focused on their broad political dimension. Rapporteur Marisa Matias (GUE/NLG, PT), told MEPs she would consider whether the ECB should aim for new goals, in addition to price stability, and seek ways to improve its accountability. "There are problems with how the ECB is run, considering the pivotal role it now plays", she said.

Broad agreement emerged on the need to explore the possibility of broadening the ECB's mandate and various doubts were raised about the effectiveness of its operations in 2011, particularly in helping the private sector and households.

Crisis resolution part of banking union's foundations

MEPs also appeared to agree that the bank crisis resolution legislation as proposed by the Commission early in July should be amended to reflect the new prospect, which emerged over the summer, of a fully-fledged EU banking union.  

"Bank crisis resolution, together with a deposit guarantee scheme and the capital requirements legislation, are the foundations of the banking union.  Bank supervision on its own will not be enough to create a real banking union", said rapporteur Gunnar Hokmark (EPP, SV).

Almost all MEPs taking the floor stressed the need to ensure that the pre-banking union legislative proposal tallies with the ideas now circulating. They also raised specific concerns about the size of the rescue funds, which they consider too small, the need for more detail on how bank shareholders would be placed in the front line of efforts to support a struggling bank and the need to have a resolution authority with real powers. One MEP warned that legislators would have to choose between merely making "grand statements" or developing truly effective mechanisms, when working on these these rules.


The draft report on ECB activities in 2011 is an own-initiative one, whereas that on bank crisis resolution will ultimately become a negotiating mandate for co-decision talks with member states.