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Banking union

In response to the financial crisis that emerged in 2008, the European Commission pursued a number of initiatives to create a safer and sounder financial sector for the single market. These initiatives, which include stronger prudential requirements for banks, improved depositor protection and rules for managing failing banks, form a single rulebook for all financial actors in the 28 Member States of the European Union. The single rule book is the foundation on which the Banking Union sits.

As the financial crisis evolved and turned into the Eurozone debt crisis, it became clear that, for those countries which shared the euro and were even more interdependent, a deeper integration of the banking system was needed. That’s why, on the basis of the European Commission roadmap for the creation of the Banking Union, the EU institutions agreed to establish a Single Supervisory Mechanism and a Single Resolution Mechanism for banks. Banking Union applies to countries in the euro-area. Non-euro-area countries can also join.

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Banking union

Single Supervision

The Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) places the European Central Bank (ECB) as the central prudential supervisor of financial institutions in the euro area (including approximately 6000 banks) and in those non-euro EU countries that choose to join the SSM. As of November 2014, the European Central Bank will directly supervise the largest banks, while the national supervisors will continue to monitor the remaining banks. The main task of the ECB and the national supervisors, working closely together within an integrated system, will be to check that banks comply with the EU banking rules and to tackle problems early on.

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Single Resolution

The Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) will apply to banks covered by the SSM. In the cases when banks fail despite stronger supervision, the mechanism will allow bank resolution to be managed effectively through a Single Resolution Board and a Single Resolution Fund, financed by the banking sector.

Its purpose is to ensure an orderly resolution of failing banks with minimal costs for taxpayers and to the real economy.


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Single Rulebook

The single rulebook is the foundation of the banking union. It consists of a set of legislative texts that all financial institutions (including approximately 8300 banks) in the EU must comply with. These rules, among other things, lay down capital requirements for banks, ensure better protection for depositors, and regulate the prevention and management of bank failures.

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