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Letter of 2 August 2010 from Commissioner Michel Barnier

Concerning the changes adopted to the Deposit Guarantee Schemes.

Dear Minister Johnsen,

I refer to your letter of 11 June 2010 and would like to assure you that the issue of a full harmonisation of the coverage level of Deposit Guarantee Schemes (DGS) at € 100 000 as introduced by Directive 2009/14/EC has been closely examined by the European Commission.

I remain convinced that it is necessary to harmonise the coverage level in order to avoid jeopardising financial stability. When the crisis deteriorated, account holders shifted deposits to banks in Member States whose coverage was higher. This led to banks being stripped of liquidity in times of stress and aggravated the crisis.
However, in order to facilitate transition, the Commission has proposed that a grandfathering clause combined with a phase-out period be granted to Member States that would need it. This clause (Article 19(3) of the proposal) allows deposits losing their protection after the transposition of Directive 2009/14 or the new proposal to be covered until the end of 2014 if such deposits were covered on 30 June 2010.

Nevertheless, since the implementation deadline of Directive 2009114/EC (31 December 2010) would have elapsed before the new Directive containing the clause could enter into force, I would suggest that a similar clause be used for the implementation of Directive 2009/14/EC into the EEA Agreement. This would allow a seamless transition towards the new Directive. I will accordingly inform the Commission services negotiating the EEA Agreement.

Moreover, I would like to refer to Article 5(2) of the proposal. It allows an unlimited coverage for up to 12 months for deposits relating to residential real estate transactions or certain life events such as divorce or inheritance. Many deposits in Norway above € 100 000 may fall within the scope of this exemption.

Yours sincerely,