Today, the European Commission approved the Dutch Government's previously announced plan to inject €10 billion into ING Groep NV. The Commission found that the ING Groep recapitalization measure is "in line" with the Commission's October 13 Guidance Communication on state aid to overcome the current financial crisis, and that such recapitalization measure further "[c]onstitutes an adequate means to remedy a serious disturbance in the Dutch economy while avoiding undue distortions of competition and is therefore compatible" with EC Treaty state aid rules. The Commission's approval specifically notes that "ING would pay, taking into account the annual coupon and the repurchase premium, an adequate remuneration to the state, with an expected return in excess of 10%." The 10% return threshold is enshrined in the Commission's Guidance Communication, and is reportedly a point of contention in the Commission's review of the German government's investment in Commerzbank.
EC Treaty rules allowing for state aid generally require that measures taken by Member States be limited in time, foresee adequate contributions from the private sector, and do not give rise to disproportionate distortions of competition, for example by discriminating against financial institutions based in other Member States, and or allowing beneficiary banks to unfairly attract new additional business solely as a result of the government support