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Capital requirements: much work still to be done on new Basel standards

The new capital requirement standards agreed by the Basel Banking Committee on Sunday tackle some of the right issues, but need much more work to transpose them into laws that ensure a global level playing field, reduce risk and do not hamper economic growth, says an own-initiative resolution approved by Parliament's Economic Affairs Committee on Monday.

The resolution gives a foretaste of the position that Parliament could take later this year on the European Commission proposals to update the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD IV), which is to transpose the Basel standards into EU law.

"This is an awareness raising resolution.  It sends a clear message that developing the Basel standards without proper preparation is not something acceptable", said author of the resolution Othmar Karas (EPP, AT) just before the vote. "A binding decision for Europe will only be reached when there is agreement between the Council and Parliament on the Commission's legislative proposals" he added.

The key points raised in the resolution are that:

  • there has been no cumulative impact assessment of the effect on banks of the new Basel standards, and all other regulations currently in force or under preparation,

  • no analysis has been undertaken of the effects on the real economy of the figures agreed in Basel.  The Commission should produce a comprehensive assessment of the consequences of the new standards,

  • European specificities regarding corporate financing need to be taken into account in the Commission's legislative proposal.  A "one size fits all approach" could stifle economic recovery,

  • the definition of what is to be considered as "capital" is still pending.  The Commission must look closely at the eligibility criteria for core tier 1 capital when it draws up the CRD IV proposals,

  • recently-passed laws in the US could lead to serious inequalities in the implementation of the current Basel standards (Basel II) and those agreed upon this week, due inter alia to limits on the recognition of external rating agencies and to the fact that the standards are to apply only to certain types of banks.  The resolution calls on the Commission to look into this matter due to concerns about the lack of a global level playing field,

  • although the leverage ratio concept could be a useful tool, it should be used only with great care, as it could create adverse incentives and may be designed in a way which does not include off-balance sheet items or derivatives, for example, and

  • it will be important to monitor banks' behaviour, to ensure that they do not pass on the costs of implementing the Basel III rules to end-users of financial services.

The Commission is due to present its proposals by the end of 2010 to transpose the Basel standards into EU law.  As co-legislator, the Parliament will then need to hammer out a final agreement with the Council on a legal text.


John SCHRANZ
Press Unit - Press Officer
 
: (+32) 2 28 44264 (
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: econ-press@europarl.europa.eu

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