Bart P.M. Joosen
This chapter discusses State aid to the Dutch financial sector, highlighting the most significant case of 2008. The banking consortium bidding to acquire ABN AMRO was subject to material constraints caused by the financial crisis. When one of the consortium members, the Belgian-Dutch conglomerate Fortis, was unable to complete the transaction due to a shortage of financing, this caused an immediate and severe crisis within ABN AMRO. Given the potentially severe consequences of that bank’s collapse on the Dutch economy, the government provided emergency liquidity assistance, nationalizing parts of the bank and becoming the new shareholder. The European Commission assessed compliance of that assistance with the prevailing State aid rules. The discussion of the ABN AMRO case demonstrates that State aid is permitted in exceptional circumstances, to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, albeit with limitations and strict conditions.