Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy
The Commission assessed the plan under its state aid rules for the restructuring of banks during the crisis (see IP/09/1180, IP/10/1636 and IP/11/1488). In its assessment, the Commission acknowledged that most of Piraeus' difficulties do not come from excessive risk-taking but from the sovereign debt crisis and the exceptionally protracted and deep recession which started in 2008. In view of those exceptional circumstances, the aid is less distortive and creates less moral hazard than aid for financial institutions which accumulated excessive risks. The Commission therefore concluded that less extensive compensatory measures would be needed to mitigate the distortions of competition brought about by the large state aid, and in particular has not requested any downsizing of Piraeus' Greek banking activities. However, the bank will downsize its foreign activities to ensure (i) that the benefits of the aid are channelled towards the financing of the Greek economy, and (ii) that the aid does not distort competition in foreign markets where Piraeus competes with non-aided banks.
Piraeus received more aid than other large Greek banks, compared to its risk-weighted assets at
The Commission therefore concluded that the restructuring plan was in line with its rules on banking restructuring during the crisis.
On 29 April and 9 July, the Commission already approved the restructuring plans of
Piraeus provides universal banking services mainly in Central, Eastern and
The common EU rules on state support for the restructuring of banks during the crisis aim at ensuring that aided banks become viable in the long term. That is to say, state funding that merely serves to keep unsustainable banks artificially alive without restructuring them is not allowed. Moreover, the rules ensure that the aid is limited to the minimum necessary to achieve this result without a waste of taxpayers' money and that the distortions of competition brought about by the subsidies, which give aided banks an advantage over their competitors, are mitigated.
The non-confidential version of this decision will be made available under the case number SA.34826 in the
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