Top EU Court Backs Italian Bank Bailout

Italy’s bailout of ailing bank Tercas six years ago did not involve State aid, Europe’s top court stated on Tuesday, March 2, in a setback to EU competition enforcers that may pave the way for compensation for Italian savers.

The European Commission in 2015 ruled the €300 million (US$360 million) rescue of Tercas was illegal because it was carried out with money from Italian deposit guarantee fund FITD.

It ordered Italy to recover the money, a move which subsequently resulted in less favorable terms for bailouts of other banks, including Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena in 2017.

The Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe’s second-highest, in 2019 threw out the Commission’s decision. The EU watchdog appealed to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

CJEU judges backed the lower tribunal and dismissed the appeal. “The General Court rightly found that those measures do not constitute state aid because they are not imputable to the Italian state,” the CJEU stated.

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