European Union states have
underwritten their financial sectors with $5.9 trillion of aid since the
banking crisis hit.
Top of the league is the UK, which
pledged $1.1 trillion of support between October 2008 and October 2010.
The figures come from the European
Commission, which must approve state aid to the EU member countries.
The aid includes guarantees, asset
relief, and grants, but only a quarter of the money has been drawn down.
Some 1.1 trillion was actually
drawn down in 2009, according to national figures passed to Brussels. For 2008
it was $1.3 trillion.
About three quarters of the total
4.5 trillion approved was in the form of state loans or guarantees.
In the EU’s league table of
financial support (for 22 of the union’s 27 members) the UK was closely followed
by the newly bailed out Republic of Ireland, which pledged $950 billion and
Denmark with $788 billion.
Lithuania was at the bottom, with
guarantees and grants worth $2.2 billion
The EC has imposed a framework
aimed at phasing out aid for the bank sector, and intends tougher scrutiny of
companies wanting money.
It said in a statement the EC said
that from 1 January, “every bank requiring state support in the form of
capital or impaired asset measures will have to submit a restructuring
EU competition commissioner Joaquin
Almunia said: “After almost two years of a specific crisis state aid
regime, we need to prepare a gradual return to normal market functioning.
Excluding crisis-support for the financial
sector, total aid approved by the EC for all member countries in 2009 – the
latest figures available – was $96 billion about the same as 2008.
This included aid to industry and
services worth $76 billion.