The European Commission (Commission) is monitoring the support provided by the British Government to Northern Rock to make sure it does not contravene EU state aid rules. Financial support to banks by the Government is prohibited under EU law unless there are exceptional circumstances. So far the Commission has not indicated that the assistance provided raises serious concerns. However, if long-term support is required for Northern Rock or other banks, it will be necessary to ensure that the aid (whether in the form of a direct grant or a guarantee) complies with the EU state aid rules.