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Banking crisis management in the EU: an early assessment

Jean Pisani-Ferry, André Sapir
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0327.2010.00243.x 341-373 First published online: 1 April 2010

Abstract

For well over a decade many observers had warned that the European Union was ill-prepared in case of a financial storm because its market integration far outpaced its policy integration. This situation was well known to policy-makers but it was hoped that financial crises would wait until policy integration occurred. The reality turned out differently, however. We assess the management of the 2007–2009 banking crisis within the EU against this backdrop. In a nutshell, we find that Europe has done better than could have been expected on the basis of existing arrangements. The two federal institutions acted swiftly, the European Central Bank by providing ample liquidity and the European Commission by enforcing competition discipline flexibly. However, there was no institutional innovation in the form of an EU-financed bail-out of transnational financial institutions or a genuine EU financial stress test. Supervisory responsibilities remained entirely with individual countries and coordination problems were managed through a combination of ad-hoc, discretionary cooperation and reliance on EU rules and procedures. It is not possible, however, to determine whether this relatively satisfactory situation is due to the fact that ad-hoc coordination was fundamentally sufficient or because no complex case of cross-border bank failure occurred.

— Jean Pisani-Ferry and André Sapir

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