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Slovenian central bank refers bank bail-in repayments law to top court

The Slovenian central bank lodged an application with the country's Constitutional Court to assess the recently approved law obliging it to cover all potential repayments to those who lost their investments during the 2013 rescue of Slovenian lenders.

Banka Slovenije said the law breaches the fundamental principles of the functioning of the central bank, as set out by the constitution and by EU law, including the ban on monetary financing, under which funds at the central bank's disposal cannot be used to finance tasks that are not tasks of the central bank. "The generally accepted view in the EU is that bank resolution is not a task of the central bank," the regulator noted.

The law also says that compensation to investors should be paid from the central bank's future earnings and from existing general reserves, which limits the regulator's independence, Banka Slovenije said.

The central bank also wants the court to review certain procedural rules envisaged in the law, which according to the regulator do not provide for effective judicial relief, place it in an inferior position, encroach on the competences of EU institutions, and contravene the rules on the protection of confidential supervisory information applying in the EU.

The Slovenian parliament passed the bank bail-in repayment law for the second time in November 2019, overriding an earlier veto of its upper house.

The central bank had pointed to the alleged unconstitutionality of the law several times before it was passed, but the Slovenian finance ministry has been of an opinion the legislation is in line with a 2016 Constitutional Court ruling that called on parliament to provide more legal protection for investors who lost assets during the 2013 bank rescue.