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Spanish Economic and Financial Outlook

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State aid to Spain’s banking sector in the EU context
Joaquín Maudos

Many EU countries have had to provide support to their financial sectors in order to help them overcome the crisis. Between the contingent liabilities and capital injections, State aid to Europe’s banks since the start of the crisis has come to almost 1.3 trillion euros, equivalent to 10% of EU-27 GDP. State aid measures have largely taken two forms –liquidity support through guarantees and financial asset purchases, and solvency support through direct capital injections. Several countries have already seen their public deficits increase as a result of bailing out their banking sectors. Additional risks taken on in the form of contingent liabilities may add further pressures to public accounts in the years to come. In Spain, while public aid was less than in some countries and in line with the EU average, the losses, and hence impact on the public deficit, have been bigger. Moreover, Spain’s contingent liabilities are much higher than the European average. Hence, the economic recovery will be a key determinant factor in the ultimate losses incurred by the State, and thus by taxpayers, as a result of the public bank bailout.

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