ANNOUNCEMENT 20 Oct 2011In October 2011, the government of Belgium announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
On 20 October 2011, the Belgian authorities nationalised the Belgian branch of Dexia bank. Dexia ran into financial problems in the aftermath of the financial crisis and has previously been a beneficiary of state interventions by Belgium, France and Luxembourg (see related measure).
The 'Dexia Banque Belqiue' (DBB) has been brought for EUR 4 billion (para. 16, letter from the EC to Brussels, 28.12.2012) On 1 March 2012, Belgium renamed the bank, now officially called Belfius. (para. 17)
On 17 April 2012, Belgium presented a restructuring plan that foresees additional state aid. (para. 19) Furthermore, the bankindirectly faces a recapitalization of EUR 2.915 billion by the Belgian state. (para. 98)
While the main entities of the Dexia Group will face a winding down, DBB will continue its activities on the Belgian market, mainly loans to institutions and the public sector but also insurance services. Therefore the state aid is subject to potential trade distortions in the banking and insurance sector.
The EC argues that the sale of the DBB to Belgium already constitutes state aid, because Belgium paid a much higher price than private investors would have done in this situation, mainly to support the remaining Dexia group. It can therefore be regarded as a clandestine recapitalization (para. 446)
More importantly, the EC finds that DBB/Belfius benefited from the separation by not longer being exposed to residual risks within the Dexia Group. (para. 450)The EC concludes that this gives DBB/Belfius advantage over its competitors and is likely to distort trade (para. 451 & 452).
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.