Tomorrow and Friday will see the next round of meetings between eurozone and EU finance ministers respectively.
The meetings will focus on a number of issues, but the key ones will arguably be the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) and the plans for a single eurozone resolution mechanism.
The full agenda is spelled out in detail in this background briefing.
As we have noted before, the proposals for new rules for bank resolution are quite controversial and have caused significant splits both within the eurozone and the EU more generally. See our previous blog here which laid out each EU country’s position.
Ahead of the meetings, we have managed to get a look at the latest draft of the Recovery and Resolution Directive. Despite being 300+ pages, it makes for some interesting reading.
From what we can see there are two key changes:
1. A compromise on depositor preference:
The previous draft looked to establish a clear hierarchy for bank bail-ins and put uninsured depositors on level pecking with other senior creditors. This draft moves away from that towards a bit more depositor preference. It says:
“In order to provide a certain level of protection for natural persons and micro, small and medium enterprises holding eligible deposits above the level of covered deposits, such deposits shall have a higher priority ranking over the claims of ordinary unsecured, non-preferred creditors under the national law governing normal insolvency proceedings.”
So under the current plans, insured depositors are the most senior, as previously. Uninsured (i.e. over €100,000) deposits from individual private citizens and SMEs will also be given preference over other senior creditors. Essentially, large firms’ uninsured deposits will rank level with senior creditors (bondholders etc.)
As we noted before, this is similar to an idea put forward by Italy, but is also likely to appease France, Spain and Portugal.
2. A reduction in ex-ante funds
This is another controversial measure, with many (including the UK) disputing the usefulness of ex-ante funds (funds which are collected on an on-going basis and are therefore in place before any crisis). In the latest draft, the level of ex-ante funds has gone from 1% of all deposits to 0.5% of covered deposits – a fairly sizeable cut given that covered deposits are only a proportion of total deposits.
This looks like a concession to the other side of the spectrum, including the UK, Netherlands and Denmark.
Some concessions on key points to both sides then, as may have been expected. That said, there are likely to be plenty who are unsatisfied by the current draft and hopes of a final agreement this week may be premature.
We’ll keep trawling through the mammoth doc, and bring you any important developments.Open Europe blog team