Deposit Guarantee Schemes: Commission adopts reasoned opinion in case brought by Latvia against Sweden for failing to comply with Union legislation

Today, the Commission adopted a reasoned opinion in a procedure brought by Latvia against Sweden under Article 259 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. According to Directive 2014/49/EU on deposit guarantee schemes (DGS), when a credit institution changes its affiliation to a deposit guarantee scheme, the DGS of origin shall transfer to the receiving DGS the bank’s contributions paid during the 12 months preceding that transfer. Latvia argues that Sweden infringed EU law by refusing to transfer some contributions collected by the Swedish deposit guarantee scheme, while a branch of a Swedish bank in Latvia became a member of the Latvian DGS following the reorganisation of the parent company. The Commission considers that the Swedish authorities have incorrectly applied the provisions of the Directive 2014/49/EU on deposit guarantee schemes. In particular, they failed to secure an interval of one year between two contributions and, subsequently, refused to transfer the contributions collected in relation to the Latvian branch concerned during the 12 months preceding the date of the transfer of its activities under the responsibility of the Latvian DGS. Moreover, the Commission also considers that the period for which the contributions are collected, rather than the actual dates of payments of contributions, should be decisive for the determination of which contributions should be transferred. In the event of a dispute between two Member States under Article 259, and before the matter is brought before the Court of Justice, the Commission has the possibility to issue a reasoned opinion within three months of the launch of the procedure by the complainant and after having given both sides an opportunity to submit their observations. To this end, the Commission held an oral hearing with both Member States on 1 July 2021. It is, however, ultimately for the Court of Justice to interpret Union law in the case in question. Following the adoption of the reasoned opinion by the Commission, Latvia may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU. This does not preclude the parties from finding an amicable settlement to the dispute.