Jeroen Dijsselbloem

Eurogroup Chief Puts Banks on Notice

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Dutch finance minister and chair of the Eurogroup finance ministers, has big plans for regulating Europe's banks.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Tougher regulation is designed to make banks safer, but bankers complain that too many rules could also make them unprofitable.

  • Facts


    • The European Commission plans that by 2024, a European-wide deposit insurance scheme will guarantee all covered deposits in the euro zone.
    • Germany is resisting the E.U.’s banking sector risk-sharing moves, fearing that its depositors or taxpayers could end up footing the bill for banking failures in other countries.
    • Although all Eurogroup countries are already required to create a fully funded national deposit guarantee scheme, Germany is the only country that currently has one in place.
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Jeroen Dijsselbloem is not worried that European banks have been given too tough a ride since the 2008 financial crisis.

For the president of the Eurogroup, a committee of finance ministers from the 19 nations that use the euro currency, the work of making banks safe enough to avoid another financial crisis is not yet complete.

Instead of easing off the gas pedal, Mr. Dijsselbloem, in an interview with Handelsblatt, signaled a fresh regulatory drive when his home country, the Netherlands, takes over the European Union’s rotating presidency in the first half of next year.

“The completion of the banking union will be one priority of the Dutch presidency in the first half of next year,” said Mr. Dijsselbloem.

Mr. Dijsselbleom laid out a list of priorities that might cause unease among the top echelons of management in Europe’s biggest banks, many of which have complained that regulation in the euro zone has already reached a fever pitch. A number of Europe’s top bankers have warned that their profitability is being undermined by the onslaught of new rules imposed by Europe’s supervisors.

The Eurogroup chief made clear that ensuring financial stability, by reducing the biggest remaining risks in the banks’ balance sheets, takes priority. The way to do it, according to Mr. Dijsselbloem, is to finish the job of harmonizing bank rules across the continent. Only then can the European Union think about sharing more bank risks across countries.

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