Toward a European Banking Union

(, Vienna)

42nd Economics Conference of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank, May 12 and 13, 2014

The European banking union has been designed to mitigate the danger of potential spillovers between sovereign debt crises and banking crises in the future. One of the building blocks for banking union is joint European banking supervision as embodied by the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), which will become operational in late 2014 under ECB leadership. Another fundamental pillar is the planned Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM), an instrument to deal with distressed banks in the future. The SRM will make it possible to efficiently conduct the resolution of problem banks in a manner that minimizes the financial burden for taxpayers and the real economy. How will this new regulatory environment work? Does it need to be supplemented by additional elements? Will it provide adequate tools to prevent banking crises in the future, or to at least keep them in check and limit their negative effects?

The 42nd Economics Conference hosted by the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB) will bring together a diverse international audience of leading policy, business and finance experts as well as renowned members of the global academic community, who will discuss these and other related questions.

Following opening remarks by Ewald Nowotny, the OeNB’s Governor, Sonja Steßl, State Secretary in the Austrian Ministry of Finance, will give an opening address on the morning of day one (May 12). She will be followed by Axel Weber, Chairman of the Board of Directors at UBS and former President of the Deutsche Bundesbank, who will talk about the role of the banking union for the European integration process. Vítor Constâncio, Vice-President of the European Central Bank (ECB), will then explain the new tasks of the ECB in banking supervision. Issues relating to the transition to the new supervisory regime will be discussed by Elke König, President of Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority BaFin, and Danièle Nouy, Chair of the Supervisory Board of the Single Supervisory Mechanism.

Sigríður Benediktsdóttir, Central Bank of Iceland, and Giovanni Dell’Ariccia, International Monetary Fund, will provide an external perspective on European banking union. Thierry Philipponat, Secretary General of Finance Watch, will speak about the often conflicting positions and interests of regulators and lobbyists. Concluding the first conference day, Michael Spindelegger, the Federal Minister of Finance and Vice Chancellor of Austria, will answer conference participants’ questions in an after-dinner session.

The second day will start off with a panel discussion dealing with the practical implementation of the banking union from the perspective of regulators and supervised entities. The panelists will include Helmut Ettl, Member of the Executive Board of the Austrian Financial Market Authority, Andreas Treichl, Chairman of the Management Board of Erste Bank, and Hans-Helmut Kotz of Goethe University Frankfurt. The conference will conclude with presentations by Martin Hellwig, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, and Thomas Wieser, President of the Eurogroup Working Group in Brussels.