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Ending uncertainty: recapitalisation under European Central Bank supervision


  • Silvia Merler
  • Guntram B. Wolff


Estimates of the recapitalisation needs of the euro-area banking system vary between €50 and €600 billion. The range shows the considerable uncertainty about the quality of banks’ balance sheets and about the parameters of the forthcoming European Central Bank stress tests, including the treatment of sovereign debt and systemic risk. Uncertainty also prevails about the rules and discretion that will applyto bank recapitalisation, bank restructuring and bank resolution in 2014 and beyond. The ECB should communicate the relevant parameters of its exercise early and in detail to give time to the private sector to find solutions. The ECB should establish itself as a tough supervisor and force non-viable banks into restructuring. This could lead to short-term financial volatility, but it should be weighed against the cost of a durably weak banking system and the credibility risk to the ECB. The ECB may need to provide large amounts of liquidity to the financial system. Governments should support the ECB, accept cross-border bank mergers and substantial creditor involvement under clear bail-in rules and should be prepared to recapitalise banks. Governments should agree on the eventual creation of a single resolution mechanism with efficient and fast decision-making procedures, and which can exercise discretion where necessary. A resolution fund, even when fully built-up, needs to have a common fiscal backstop to be credible.

Suggested Citation

  • Silvia Merler & Guntram B. Wolff, 2013. "Ending uncertainty: recapitalisation under European Central Bank supervision," Policy Contributions 806, Bruegel.
  • Handle: RePEc:bre:polcon:806

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    1. repec:nbr:nberch:13342 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Tobias Cwik & Volker Wieland, 2011. "Keynesian government spending multipliers and spillovers in the euro area," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 26(67), pages 493-549, July.
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    5. Pierfederico Asdrubali & Bent E. Sørensen & Oved Yosha, 1996. "Channels of Interstate Risk Sharing: United States 1963–1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1081-1110.
    6. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 1-27, May.
    7. Melitz, Jacques & Zumer, Frederic, 2002. "Regional redistribution and stabilization by the center in Canada, France, the UK and the US:: A reassessment and new tests," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 263-286, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gerard Cornilleau & Jerome Creel, 2014. "Financialisation and the Financial and Economic Crises: The Case of France," FESSUD studies fstudy22, Financialisation, Economy, Society & Sustainable Development (FESSUD) Project.
    2. Giuseppe Bertola & John Driffill & Harold James & Hans-Werner Sinn & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Ákos Valentinyi, 2014. "Chapter 4: Banking Union: Who Should Take Charge?," EEAG Report on the European Economy, CESifo Group Munich, vol. 0, pages 91-108, February.

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