Financial Regulatory Forum

EU Commission throws WestLB aid, bad bank into doubt

December 22, 2009

BRUSSELS, Dec 22 (Reuters) – The European Commission said it doubts that WestLB’s plans to set up Germany’s first “bad bank” complies with EU rules on state aid, granting only temporary clearance for the rescue plan.

EU “cookie-cutter” bank overhaul policy under fire

November 3, 2009

European Commissioner in charge of Competition Neelie Kroes delivers a speech at a conference on State Aid Private Enforcement in Brussels October 19, 2009. REUTERS/Sebastien Pirlet    By Edward Taylor and Kirstin Ridley
FRANKFURT/LONDON, Nov 3 (Reuters) – Neelie Kroes’s campaign to shrink banks and launch vast asset sales has angered bankers, who accuse the firebrand European competition commissioner of kicking the industry when it’s down.Investment bankers close to some of the bailed-out lenders blame Kroes for undermining attempts to rebuild the once-lucrative industry by forcing massive, near-simultaneous asset sales, while banning acquisitions.

EU clears Northern Rock break-up plan, paves way for sale

October 28, 2009

A woman is reflected as she passes a branch of Northern Rock in London August 4, 2009. (File Photo).  REUTERS/Luke MacGregor   (BRITAIN BUSINESS)  By Foo Yun Chee and Clara Ferreira-Marques
BRUSSELS/LONDON, Oct 28 (Reuters) – European Union
regulators have approved a UK government plan to break up
state-owned mortgage bank Northern Rock, in a move that clears the way for the sale of key parts of the battered lender.

EU’s Kroes wants courts to tackle illegal state aid

October 19, 2009

European Commissioner in charge of Competition Neelie Kroes delivers a speech at a conference on State Aid Private Enforcement in Brussels October 19, 2009. Germany has assured GM and the Opel Trust that its 4.5 billion euros ($6.70 billion) offer in financial aid for Opel is not tied to the choice of an investor or a plan, European Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said on Monday. Kroes raised concerns in a letter to the German government last week about German government aid that is to be provided to Opel under a planned sale of the carmaker to Canada's Magna. REUTERS/Sebastien Pirlet  (BELGIUM POLITICS BUSINESS TRANSPORT) BRUSSELS, Oct 19 (Reuters) – The European Union’s antitrust chief urged national courts on Monday to play a bigger role in combating illegal state aid from EU governments to companies.

NEWSMAKER-EU state aid experts mix pragmatism, tough talk

October 16, 2009

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS, Oct 16 (Reuters) – Neelie Kroes, the European Union antitrust czar, has picked two high-fliers with a wealth of financial and state aid experience to help restructure Europe’s banking landscape in the wake of the credit crisis.

Dutch get two weeks to finish ABN asset sale

October 2, 2009

European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes speaks at a news conference at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels July 8, 2009. (file photo) By Ben Berkowitz and Gilbert Kreijger
AMSTERDAM, Oct 2 (Reuters) – The European Commission on Friday gave the Dutch government a surprise extension of time to sell portions of nationalised bank ABN AMRO, about two weeks after a sale fell apart and just three hours before what had been regarded as a firm deadline.

EU’s Kroes says Lloyds bank needs to shrink presence

September 29, 2009

BRUSSELS, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Partially-nationalised British
bank Lloyds needs to shrink its activities in areas
where it is currently dominant to compensate for taking billions
of pounds in state aid, the European Union’s antitrust chief

Brussels’ tough line to force Europe bank shake-up

September 18, 2009

A pedestrian passes the head office of the Lloyds Banking Group in central London August 5, 2009. By Steve Slater and Foo Yun Chee
LONDON/BRUSSELS, Sept 18 (Reuters) – Europe’s banks face a shakeout as a result of the European Commission flexing its muscles over state aid that the sector gratefully accepted to survive a financial crisis.