Madam President, honourable Members, firstly, my appreciation for the work of our rapporteur, Madam Hübner, and for her speech on this report on Banking Union.
This is Parliament’s sixth report on completing the Banking Union and it shows the commitment of this Parliament to the Banking Union, and we in the Commission appreciate that support and commitment.
But the fact that we are discussing this sixth report calling for more progress also shows how difficult it has been to achieve this shared objective and the need for all of us – Commission, Council, Member States, Parliament – to do much more.
Of course, the Banking Union arose out of the global financial crisis and the eurozone debt crisis. We needed to strengthen the euro and the Economic and Monetary Union.
The crisis meant that we found the political will to make difficult decisions and undertake ambitious solutions.
But completing Banking Union is becoming harder as time passes and memories of the banking crisis fade.
The sense of urgency to complete the Banking Union has withered away, and we have experienced political stalemate over the last two years.
And we have failed to make the case to people less familiar with the sometimes overly technical discussions on Banking Union.
I think we need to return to fundamentals and talk and explain to citizens why the Banking Union matters, and that might help us move forward and unlock the blockages.
I believe that this Parliament has a key role to play here in bringing the discussion to citizens and businesses.
A Banking Union means a larger market, and that creates more opportunities for economies of scale, as the rapporteur pointed to.
For Europeans, it would mean they can trust that their deposits are equally treated if their banks fail, no matter where they are in the European Union.
And it means that we, as policy-makers, are living up to our promises to do all we can to prevent another banking crisis, with the impact that would have on people’s lives and livelihoods – not to mention on taxpayer money.
So your report rightly renews the call for increased efforts to achieve our goals, and I call on you to help us communicate with citizens about the importance of completing this work and therefore put pressure on all of us to do much more.
When it comes to how we manage failing banks, I know Parliament’s support for improving the existing framework.
We should prioritise transferring the viable parts of a failing bank to another bank and facilitate the exit from the market of non-viable banks. We can protect financial stability better if we ensure that consumers do not experience significant changes to the services they use.
Where the financial buffers of a failing bank are insufficient, using taxpayers’ money may sometimes appear as the easiest option – but the Banking Union is based on using other measures as a first option.
We should rely more on the industry’s own safety nets, such as resolution funds and deposit guarantee funds.
Banks need enough liquidity in resolution, and the Banking Union needs to provide such a mechanism.
Moving to the European Deposit Insurance Scheme: if we want every euro deposited to have the same value, we need to grant it the same level of protection through a common deposit insurance scheme.
Right now, deposit protection is only national. Common safety nets could deliver more resilience more efficiently and make national schemes less vulnerable to large local shocks. Moreover, it would encourage deeper market integration, which will let European banks grow, becoming more resilient and able to compete internationally.
The completion of Banking Union would underpin a resilient banking sector, a sector that is undergoing transformation due to digitalisation and increased competition from fintechs.
Banking Union would increase citizens’ trust in the system.
We need a strong and resilient Economic and Monetary Union, and we need to boost our efforts to complete Banking Union, and we need to explain why finishing our work is so important.
I look forward to hearing your contributions in this important debate.