The Slovenia Times

Slovenia Supports EU Banking Reform


Most of the finance ministers and central bank governors gathered to discuss the topic in Nicosia, Cyprus, maintained that the European Commission's plans for the European Central Bank (ECB) to become ready to take on the new role of supervisor in 2013 were too ambitious.

Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg, whose country is not a member of the eurozone, said the Commission's proposal for a single supervisor for all banks in the EU was totally unacceptable for many non-euro EU countries as it would mean their taxpayers' money would depend on decisions by an institution where they do not have a voting right.

"Slovenia supports the proposal in that it will break the negative circle of impacts between yields on borrowing by banks and yields on state borrowing, which will also bring down yields on sovereign borrowing," Finance Ministry State Secretary Dejan KruĊĦec said.

He agrees that the planned launch of single oversight is "very early", while he said other open questions were whether it would also include non-euro countries, the relationship between the ECB and the European Banking Authority, and the connection between this step the formation of a deposit guarantee fund and rescue fund.

There is also the problem of the scope of supervision. Germany would like the ECB to focus only on systemic banks whose collapse would bring down the system. The country also insists on a parallel formation of a rescue fund for problematic banks.

The problem of the scope of supervision has recently also been pinpointed by the governor of Slovenia's central bank Marko Kranjec, who finds it realistic for the ECB as the umbrella supervisor to control only 150 systemic banks in the eurozone rather than all 6,000 banks as proposed by the Commission.

Kranjec said this view was echoed today by many ministers, but the governor accepts the explanation that the ECB is legally responsible for the stability of all 6,000 banks, which it will not supervise itself but will rather leave that to national regulators, while it could intervene directly in case of difficulties.

Kranjec noted that a single supervisory mechanism would not substantially increase the amount of work for Banka Slovenije. However, he said that extra work would be in the form of a financial stability committee, which is to be formed at the ECB along the existing board of governors and is to comprise of representatives of central banks.

The governor also briefly commented on the procedure for the appointment of the chairman of Slovenia's largest bank NLB. Janko Medja was appointed to the post on Friday but still needs a go-ahead from the central bank before he can take over.

Kranjec said he was unable to discuss names or their skills because the procedure for the licensing of the chairman and management board members had not started yet.

"The ball is in the candidates' court. Once we receive an application, the clock will start clicking," he said, adding the governing board of Banka Slovenije would decide on the appointments within 30 days.

The governor would not comment on the government's plans for the restructuring of Slovenian banks, on grounds that they were still being worked on and was thus too early to make any assessments.

He meanwhile repeated that proposal to shore up banks' balance sheets was just one in a series of measures needed to stabilise the economy and that Slovenia would not need to seek European aid providing political consensus on the measures is secured.


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