State Aid for banks: from the Northern Rock rescue to the government support measures during the financial crisis
Immediately after the Lehman Brothers failure, the lack of confidence in the financial markets and the serious difficulties of several European cross border financial intermediaries, a large wave of public rescue and support measures in favour of European banks and financial institutions and national banking systems occurred. This article leaves from the Northern Rock crisis to describe the main public support measures and the European Commission's activity in the State Aid control field over the last months aiming at ensuring the level playing field and, in perspective, the way back to the normality of the banking and financial system in the future. In the financial crisis context State Aid rules proved to be an adequate tool for the protection of competition at the European level and an important incentive for Members States to limit the taxpayers' burden for banking bailouts and to push banks to start to ride out their difficulties.
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