ANNOUNCEMENT 01 Jan 2010In January 2010, the government of Ireland announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
the letter from the EC to Ireland - Brussels, 26.2.2010 C(2010)1155 final. Available from : < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_N725_2009 >
On 7 April 2009, the Irish Minister for Finance announced his intention to introduce an asset relief scheme for banks in Ireland.
In order to restore stability to the Irish banking system in the context of the financial crisis, the Irish authorities notified their intention to establish the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). NAMA will be established under the aegis of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA)1 and will acquire and manage assets from a number of participating financial institutions.
At this stage, the Irish authorities anticipate that NAMA will arrange and supervise the purchase of approximately EUR '...'billion (confidential information) worth of land, development property and associated commercial loans from certain financial institutions in Ireland2 for an estimated purchase price of around EUR 54 billion.
The set up, rules and powers of NAMA have been designed to allow the agency serve the purposes set out in the Act, namely:
- the serious threat to the Irish economy, the stability of credit institutions in Ireland and the need for the maintenance and stabilisation of the financial system in Ireland, and
- the compelling need to (i) restore confidence in the Irish banking sector and to underpin the effect of Irish government support measures in relation to that sector, (ii) remove uncertainty about the valuation and location of certain assets of credit institutions of systemic importance to the Irish economy by addressing the issue in an expeditious and efficient manner, (iii) facilitate the availability of credit and achieve a recovery in the Irish economy, (iv) protect Ireland's interest in respect of the guarantees issued pursuant to the guarantee schemes4, (v) protect the interests of Irish taxpayers, and (vi) facilitate restructuring of credit institutions of systemic importance to the Irish economy.
The commission found that the measure constitutes State aid within the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU and gave the following assessment:
'Firstly, the purchase of the assets is financed up to 95% by State guaranteed bonds. In current circumstances, it is highly unlikely that a market economy investor would have purchased the proposed eligible bank assets out of private funds on a comparable scale and on similar terms. Therefore, without such State guarantee, the measure could not be implemented. Therefore it is clearly financed albeit indirectly, through State resources.
Secondly, since this Scheme confers an economic advantage on beneficiaries and strengthens their position vis-ŕ-vis their competitors in Ireland and in other Member States, these measures distort competition and affect trade between Member States. The advantage is selective since it benefits only beneficiaries under the Scheme and is provided through State resources.' (par. 81-82 of the letter from the EC to Ireland - Brussels, 26.2.2010 C(2010)1155 final)
The Commission considered that the measure fulfils the requirements of Article 107(3)(b) TFEU, as a scheme it is compatible with the internal market, with the result that the Commission raises no objections.
A state measure in the GTA database is assessed solely in terms of the extent to which its implementation affects the extent of discrimination against foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory.