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The Corona Virus Can Infect Banks Too journal article open-access

The Applicability of the EU Banking and State Aid Regimes

Phedon Nicolaides

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 1, Page 29 - 38

This paper examines possible options for Member States to redress the impact of the corona virus (SARS-CoV2) on financial institutions in the context of the directive on bank recovery and resolution, the regulation on the Single Resolution Mechanism and the State aid rules on banks. The EU banking regime requires, in principle, that the granting of State aid to a bank should lead to its resolution or liquidation. The paper considers how Member States may support banks outside the scope of Article 107(1) TFEU and how State aid may be granted without triggering resolution or liquidation. The current measures which are rolled out by European governments to support the real economy will indirectly benefit banks too. The paper reviews the recently announced ‘Temporary Framework’ according to which any ‘indirect aid’ to banks will not infringe the provisions of the directive or regulation. The paper identifies gaps in the current rules concerning solvent, but not systemic banks, ambiguities in the interpretation of the concept of ‘serious disturbance’ and unclear guidance as to how indirect aid may be minimised. Keywords: Bank resolution; Liquidation; Temporary Framework; COVID-19.


Learnings from the Commission’s Initial State Aid Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak journal article

Paula Riedel, Thomas Wilson, Shane Cranley

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 2, Page 115 - 126

Against the background of the COVID-19 outbreak and the effects of public health measures on Member State economies, the Commission has acted impressively quickly to prevent State aid rules becoming a block to necessary interventions. The Commission has published a Temporary Framework under Article 107(3)(b) TFEU, which has been amended twice including to allow for recapitalisation of firms in return for State participation. Aid under this Temporary Framework along with a wide range of measures approved under Article 107 TFEU has allowed billions in aid to be granted, ensuring that liquidity is available to companies. This liquidity has avoided mass bankruptcies but comes with the risk of distortions of competition across the internal market; a risk augmented by the differences in approach of the Member States. As Member States exit the initial phase of the response to the crisis focused on liquidity, and move to more structural measures such as recapitalisations, we can expect the design of aid to be monitored even more closely to minimise market distortions. The Commission’s initial response has been flexible, swift and pragmatic and is to be lauded but many potential pitfalls remain as the crisis moves to the next phase.  Keywords: COVID-19, Temporary Framework, recapitalisation, distortion of competition


How to Estimate the COVID-19 Damages? journal article

Economic Considerations for State Aid During a Time of Crisis

Victor Ahlqvist, Adina Claici, Stephanie Tizik

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 2, Page 150 - 160

The unprecedented volume of State aid applications during the COVID-19 crisis presents new economic challenges and policy considerations related to the need for aid and the extent of the damages suffered by undertakings. In light of the current situation, this article presents the foundation for State aid during the outbreak of COVID-19, discusses the methodology for determining the damages using a counterfactual analysis and addresses some of the important factors that policy makers must balance in order to ensure that firms receive the necessary support while minimising the distortions on competition. Keywords: damage estimation, counterfactual analysis, COVID-19


The SURE Initiative, Short-time Work Compensation, and State Aid journal article

Hans Arno Petzold

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 2, Page 161 - 164

The European Commission has put forward a proposal for a Council regulation aimed at ‘temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE) following the COVID-19 outbreak’. This is not the place to discuss political or financial implications of the idea of a Basic European Unemployment Insurance. But it gives the opportunity to have a look at options for short-time work compensation, based on a case study of the German model, and the State aid relevance of such compensation. Keywords: COVID-19, SURE Initiative, short-time work Ccmpensation, State aid, selectivity, Germany






State Aid Tools to Tackle the Impact of COVID-19: journal article

What Is the Role of Economic and Financial Analysis?

Nicole Robins, Laura Puglisi, Ling Yang

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 2, Page 137 - 149

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission quickly provided guidance on how Member States can support companies during the crisis in a manner that is in line with State aid rules. With the Commission having approved €2.6 trillion of aid notified by Member States since the start of the pandemic, State aid rules have come under the spotlight more than ever before. Some argue that the different approaches adopted by Member States to deal with the crisis create significant competitive distortions between Member States, while others argue that State aid rules should be made more lenient. This article discusses the State aid tools that Member States can use to deal with the effects of the pandemic, focusing on the role of economic and financial analysis to support the application of these tools. The article examines how Member States can provide liquidity support to companies in compliance with State aid rules, before looking at how Member States could provide more longer-term funding solutions to companies to deal with the effects of the pandemic without breaching State aid rules. Keywords: COVID-19, liquidity support, compensation for damages, rescue aid, restructuring aid, economic and financial analysis, recapitalisations


How Flexible Should State Aid Control Be in Times of Crisis? journal article

Carole Maczkovics

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 3, Page 271 - 283

The COVID-19 pandemic requires massive State intervention in the economy. To allow EU Member States to act decisively, the Commission committed to make flexible use of State aid rules. This article examines how, over the first four months of the crisis, these rules have been applied to measures notified by EU Member States in view of addressing the consequences of the crisis on their economy. It further highlights the risks that the more flexible application of State aid rules in the context of the current crisis can present for the level playing field and the internal market, and argues that the EU Recovery Plan would not be able to remove those risks. Finally, it recommends that the Commission reviews whether aid measures comply with the general principle of equal treatment and, where it is given discretion under the Treaty, considers imposing conditions counter-balancing distortions of competition, and as the case may be, enabling the green and digital transition so as to ensure, to the largest extent possible, fair competition and the integrity of the internal market. Keywords: COVID-19, level playing field, internal market, equal treatment, conditionality