At today’s ECOFIN meeting in Brussels, EU Economic and Finance ministers, chaired by Margrethe Vestager, agreed a new Capital Requirements Directive. The Directive strengthens requirements for banks, which in the future will be required to hold more and better quality capital. The Capital Requirements Directive is among the most important elements in the response to the financial crisis and in preventing future crisis.
With this agreement, the Danish Presidency has made crucial progress on a very important file that makes it possible for the EU to meet the commitment made with the other large economies in the G20 to implement the so-called Basel standards on capital and liquidity.
Minister for Economic Affairs and the Interior, Margrethe Vestager, says:
“Following long negotiations at the previous ECOFIN meeting and again today, I am glad that we agree on strengthening the regulation and supervision of the financial sector in the EU. A healthy and well-regulated banking sector strengthens the confidence of investors, costumers and companies and is an important step to create growth and employment and lead Europe out of the crisis. With the Directive the EU is putting itself at the front among the large economies in the G20 in terms of implementing the global banking standards which everybody has committed to comply with.”
Minister of Business and Growth, Ole Sohn, says:
“It is positive for both costumers and banks that there is now more clarity about the new set of rules, which set requirements for more solid banks, so that banks can withstand up- and downturns without putting financial stability and the real economy at risk. At the same time I am pleased that we have now found an acceptable solution to the challenges that the new rules could have created for Danish mortgage institutes and their unique business model since the Council compromise entails that Danish covered bonds will be measured based on their objective liquidity characteristics which we know are good. The government will continue to focus on this issue in the coming negotiations with the European parliament.”
The negotiations on the Capital Requirements Directive have been complicated because Member States have had different wishes regarding how much they should be allowed to deviate from the common EU rules by imposing tougher requirements on their own banks. The Presidency has found a balanced solution where deviations are possible within certain limits and with the common monitoring and coordination necessary to protect the internal market.
Besides tougher requirements on banks’ capital and liquidity, the Directive contains rules governing i.a. the transparency of banks’ leverage, rules on good corporate governance and strengthened requirements in terms of the sanctions available to Member States when dealing with banks that infringe the rules.
The Danish Presidency will now initiate negotiations with the European Parliament. The Capital Requirements Directive is intended enter into force on 1st January 2013 with a transition period as regards a number of elements.