Impaired assets such as non-performing loans (“NPLs”) continue to pose significant problems across the EU. When possible solutions are being considered, “bad banks” or similar impaired asset relief measures are often discussed. However, if they involve support by the State such measures need to be compliant with a set of EU law provisions. This article aims to clarify which interventions are considered to be State aid, and to give an overview of the compatibility conditions that apply to State aid measures. A brief explanation is also given concerning the recent changes brought about by the EU’s new recovery and resolution framework introduced by the Banking Recovery and Resolution Directive (“BRRD”).
Since 2016, Dr. Wouter Dutillieux is a Case Handler in the Directorate-General for Competition’s Task Force Financial Crisis at the European Commission. As a member of the Task Force, he assesses State aid measures in the financial services sector. In addition, he contributes to horizontal projects including on non-performing loans and EU Financial Instruments. He joined the European Commission in 2013 and first dealt with State aid cases in the health, postal and other services sectors. Previously, he worked at the headquarters of the banking and insurance group KBC. At KBC, he was involved in several projects related to among others IFRS and the fair value of financial instruments. He obtained his PhD in Applied Economics with a specialization in Accounting and Auditing from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 2009. He has peer-reviewed publications in Review of Business and Economics (Belgium), Accounting & Finance (Australia & New Zealand) and Accounting Horizons (USA).