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April 3, 2008

EU regulators commence Northern Rock enquiry

by Gill Montia

Story link: EU regulators commence Northern Rock enquiry

European Union regulators have opened an enquiry into the Government’s nationalisation and future plans for Northern Rock.

The investigations are expected to take several months and will establish whether the support received by the bank complies with the European Union rules on state aid.

The rules aim to ensure that a business does not receive an unfair competitive advantage over its rivals.

The enquiry will take into account the views of Northern Rock’s competitors; Danish banks have already lodged an official complaint about the terms of the rescue.

The European Competition Commissioner has acted speedily, because failure to do so could expose Northern Rock to the possibility of legal challenges.

The Treasury has welcomed the investigation, stating: “a rigorous, transparent and open process” was important to ensure legal certainty around the Commission’s final decision.

The outcome of the enquiry could provide a benchmark for any European government forced to assist a bank in crisis because of the shortage of liquidity in the markets.

 

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