On Thursday 1 October, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) will publish a special report on the EU control of State aid to financial institutions between 2013 and 2018.
ABOUT THE AUDIT
This is the first time the ECA has carried out a performance audit on the enforcement of EU competition policy in the area of State aid to financial institutions. The purpose was to assess whether the European Commission has been effective in exercising State aid control to banks between August 2013 and the end of 2018. In particular, the auditors examined whether the European Commission had appropriate tools and resources to carry out is control of State aid. They also checked whether EU control ensured that State aid remained exceptional and limited to the minimum necessary. It should however be noted that the auditors did not discuss nor assess individual cases in their report.
Based on their findings, the auditors will make a number of recommendations to the European Commission.
ABOUT THE TOPIC
When the global financial crisis of 2007 to 2008 erupted, public intervention was considered necessary to limit the threat that banks posed to financial stability. State aid reached thousands of billions of euros. Since then, banks in the EU have been a major beneficiary of taxpayers' money.
The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union prohibits State aid unless justified in well-defined exceptional situations. EU State aid framework was adapted following the crisis to focus on financial stability as an overarching objective for the banking sector, while seeking to ensure that aid and distortions of competition between financial institutions and across Member States were kept to the minimum necessary.
The ECA’s special reports set out the results of its audits of EU policies and programmes or management topics related to specific budgetary areas. The ECA selects and designs these audit tasks to be of maximum impact by considering the risks to performance or compliance, the level of income or spending involved, forthcoming developments and political and public interest.