Romanian authorities did not inform the European Commission on the intent to recapitalize CEC Bank. On Brussels' urging in mid-March, Romania sent in the information but the Commission was not satisfied with their quality.
"The quality of the information so far provided by the Romanian authorities is insufficient to allow the Commission to make an assessment on whether the recapitalisation of CEC constitutes aid (let alone, if constituting aid, whether such aid would be compatible with the Treaty)", a DG Competition statement for HotNews.ro shows. The Competition Council explained that "We wish to convince them that this measure should not be considered state aid. Otherwise, it would be difficult to justify such money sum".
The Competition Policy statement for HotNews.ro:
The Romanian authorities did not inform the Commission that they were about to recapitalise CEC Bank.The Commission discovered this on its own and it was the Commission services which informally contacted the Romanian authorities in mid March, not the other way around.
The quality of the information so far provided by the Romanian authorities is insufficient to allow the Commission to make an assessment on whether the recapitalisation of CEC constitutes aid (let alone, if constituting aid, whether such aid would be compatible with the Treaty). Nevertheless, the Commission has been very open and cooperative vis-à-vis the Romanian authorities, explaining what were the options open to them.
Member States can get a swift reply from the Commission allowing them to implement recapitalisations knowing that they comply with the EC Treaty, on the condition that they are cooperative and comply with their obligation under the Treaty to give the Commission all relevant information on future possible State aid.
Authorities in Bucharest sent Brussels a notification on May 11 2009, to give green light to a scheme supporting finance access in the economic and financial crisis, particularly regarding guaranteed subventions. Romania requested the reduction of guarantee commissions, which can be applied up to two years.
Bogdan Chiritoiu, president of the Competition Council, told HotNews.ro that they have been having discussions with the European Commission for several months now on the very same subject, but so far Brussels could not be convinced the capital flood was not state aid. There are 250 million euros (900 million lei) at stake.
The Romanian state needs to convince the European Commission that it acts like a private investor. The Commission reps decided there was insufficient information to sustain the issue. If the Commission considers the measure state aid, the requested money is unjustified. The documents will be discussed by the Government and sent again to the Commission.
PM Boc said there has already been one CEC recapitalisation: the 229 million lei profit was left in the bank's care, instead of sending it to the Ministry of Finance, as usual. Romanian minister of Finance Gheorghe Pogea said the Government needs to pour into CEC a total of 900 million lei.