Should Denmark and Sweden Join the Banking Union?

Svend E. Hougaard Jensen, Dirk Schoenmaker

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An important policy discussion on joining the banking union is currently taking place in Denmark and Sweden. In this article we review the pros and cons of joining. The main rationale for joining the banking union is the importance of cross-border banking in the EU internal market. Reviewing the banking systems, we find that banks in Denmark and Sweden have the same cross-border characteristics as those in the euro area countries, suggesting a similar rationale for joining the banking union. Moreover, both countries have large banks which may be too big to save at country level, but not at the banking union level. Nevertheless, there are some governance concerns. While euro area countries have an automatic and full say in all banking union arrangements, the non-euro area countries (the ‘out’ countries) lack certain formal powers in ultimate decision-making; however, we find that this may be less of a problem in practice. If necessary, the ‘out’ countries would have the ‘nuclear option’ of leaving the banking union.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Financial Regulation
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)317–326
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Cross-border banking
  • Banking union
  • Non-euro area countries
  • Banking supervision
  • Financial stability

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