- ECB oversight should be limited to systemically important and cross-border banks;
- Monetary policy and banking supervision tasks should be clearly separated within the ECB;
- The document also makes clear that deposit guarantees "will not be unified across Europe". They "may be harmonised, but the responsibility must remain national."
Yesterday's Die Welt claimed that Germany is pushing a proposal which would see less powers for the ECB's Governing Council under the Eurozone's banking union. Under the Commission's proposal, the ECB's Governing Council would have the final say over both monetary policy and matters of supervision. This could trigger a series of conflicts of interests as the Governing Council would in effect become the judge, jury and executioner - i.e. it would simultaneously make decisions on bond-buying, bank liquidity provisions and whether banks should be recapitalised or closed down (the latter could trigger losses due to the first two). That incentive structure does not feel right, and the 2009 de Laroisière report for the Commission explicitly warned against it.
The Commission's proposal sees supervision responsibilities being outsourced by the ECB Governing Council to a new Supervisory Board - consisting of representatives from national authorities - but with the Governing Council still having the final say. In addition, the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson of the Supervisory Board would be elected from the members of the Governing Council.
According to Die Welt, during last week's meeting of EU finance ministers in Cyprus, Germany put forward a counter-proposal designed to address these concerns. It involves the creation of a completely independent committee within the ECB consisting of national authorities, where voting weights would mirror the size of each member country's financial markets (and therefore their share of the cost). All of this is unconfirmed, but such an arrangement would take care of two issues:
Firstly, a Chinese Wall would be erected between supervision and monetary policy (at least in theory).
Secondly, unlike the Commission's proposal which fails to spell out whether non-euro countries joining the single supervisory mechanism (SSM) would get voting rights on the new Supervisory Board (an ambiguity which attracted the wrath of Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg), this arrangement would make joining far more attractive for the likes of Sweden and Poland.
According to Die Welt, the German proposal would give non-euro members a vote on the supervisory board in return for subjecting their banks to the SSM. There are a huge number of other issues that non-euro countries will still have to consider, such as the constant risk of being outvoted by a eurozone caucus and no discretion on tailored national regulation, i.e. capital requirements (hello Sweden). It is also unclear how this proposal reads legally (the ECB's statute will have to change anyway, but still).
What's clear is that the Commission's proposal still needs a lot of brushing up.