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  • Author: Ilaria Maselli, Miroslav Beblavý
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: There is a general consensus that to achieve employment growth, especially for vulnerable groups, it is not enough to kick-start economic growth. It is also essential to improve the s kills among both the high-and low-skilled population.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Science and Technology, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe, Somalia
  • Author: Viral V. Acharya, Sascha Steffen
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The eurozone is mired in a recession. In 2013, the GDP of all 17 eurozone countries fell by 0.5% and the outlook for 2014 shows considerable risks across the region. To stabilise the common currency area and its (partly insolvent) financial system, a eurozone banking union is being established. An important part of the banking union is the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), which will transfer the oversight of Europe's largest banks to the European Central Bank (ECB). Before the ECB takes over this responsibility, it plans to conduct an Asset Quality Review (AQR) in 2014, which will identify the capital shortfalls of these banks.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi, Ginevra Bruzzone, Miriam Cassella
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In July 2013, the European Commission adopted a new Banking Communication – the seventh since the start of the financial crisis – updating its criteria for the evaluation of state aid in the banking sector in response to the evolving economic and institutional environment. Under this Communication, any credit institution in need of recapitalisation or 'impaired asset' measures will be required, prior to any further action, to submit a plan for restructuring or the orderly winding down the bank. Moreover, whenever there is a capital shortfall, the Commission will require that, prior to any injection of public funds, not only shareholders – as has been the case so far – but also junior creditors write down or convert into equity their claims on the bank, regardless of whether the bank is under resolution, in order to minimise the need for state aid.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi, Fabrizia Peirce
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The policy debate about how best to restore growth in the flagging eurozone economy has been plagued by demands from some highly indebted member countries that the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) be loosened to leave greater room to support the economy with budgetary instruments. These demands have been met with an instant rebuff from the Commission and other financially solid members who argue that loosening the Pact would do little to restore sound growth. This question has also hindered the broader discussion on the need for and content of a renewed growth strategy for the eurozone and the European Union, no least by fuelling fresh mistrust among their member states.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Willem Pieter De Groen
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Comprehensive Assessment conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB) representsa considerable step forward in enhancing transparency ineuro-area banks' balance sheets. The most notable progress since the previous European stress test has been the hamonisation of the definition of non-performing loans and other concepts as well as uncovering hidden losses, which resulted in a €34 billion aggregate capital-chargenet of tax. Despite this tightening,most banks were able to meet the 5.5% common equity tier 1 (CET1) threshold applied in the test, whichsuggests that the large majority of the euro-area banks have improvedtheir financial position sufficiently to no longer constrainthem in financing the economy.Our own estimation based on the detailed results, however,provide a more nuanced picture, with a large numberof the banks still highly leveraged and in many cases unable to meet the regulatory capital requirementsthat will be introduced in the coming years underthe adverse stress test scenario.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Global Recession
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Denis Cenusa, Tamara Kovziridse, Veronika Movchan
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: While EU and US sanctions against Russia over its aggression in Ukraine, and Russia's counter-sanctions, are much discussed due to their evident political significance, less attention has been given to Russia's punitive sanctions against the three Eastern European states – Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia – that have signed with the EU Association Agreements (AA), which include Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) provisions. This paper therefore documents these trade policy restrictions and embargoes imposed by Russia, and provides some first indications of their impact. The immediate impact on trade flows, especially for agri-food products, has been substantial, albeit with some leakage through Belarus. The main instrument for the Russian measures has been allegations of non-conformity with Russian technical standards, although the correlation of these allegations with movements in Russia's geopolitical postures makes it obvious that the Russian technical agencies are following political guidelines dressed up as scientific evidence. These measures also push the three states into diversifying their trade marketing efforts in favour of the EU and other world markets, with Georgia already having taken significant steps in this direction, since in its case the Russian sanctions date back to 2006. In the case of Ukraine, Russia's threat to cancel CIS free trade preferences infiltrated trilateral talks between the EU, Ukraine and Russia, leading on 12 September to their proposed postponement until the end of 2015 of the 'provisional' implementation of a large part of the AA/DCFTA. This was immediately followed on 16 September by ratification of the AA/DCFTA by both the Rada in Kyiv and the European Parliament, which will lead to its full and definitive entry into force when the 28 EU member states have also ratified it. However Putin followed the day after with a letter to Poroshenko making an abusive interpretation of the 12 September understanding.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Power Politics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia
  • Author: Hrant Kostanyan, Bruno Vandecasteele
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Besides the Eastern Partnership's (EaP) bilateral and multilateral framework and the Civil Society Forum, the European Union (EU) engages with the EaP countries – Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan – through multilateral parliamentary cooperation, namely within the EuroNest Parliamentary Assembly (EuroNest PA).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Armenia, Belarus
  • Author: Bernard Delbecque
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that it should be possible to complement Europe's Economic and Monetary Union with an insurance-type shock absorption mechanism to increase the resilience of member countries to economic shocks and reduce output volatility. Such a mechanism would neither require the establishment of a central authority, nor would it lead to permanent transfers between countries. For this mechanism to become a reality, however, it would be necessary to overcome certain technical problems linked to the difficulty of anticipating correctly the position of an economy in the business cycle.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: There are three aggregate numbers that describe the problem the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) is inheriting: the 130 banks under its direct supervision hold assets worth 250% of the euro area's GDP, their capital is equivalent to only 4% of their assets' value and they have made zero profits, in the aggregate, over the last four years.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Andrea Renda
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: A lively debate emerged on the proposed "Connected Continent" legislative package presented by the European Commission in September 2013. The package contains a proposed rule on the 'open Internet', which was heavily discussed in European Parliament hearings in early December. This commentary argues that while the proposed rule is in principle balanced and appealing, it is utterly impractical due to the enormous uncertainty that its application would entail. At the same time, the rule is very far from what neutrality proponents have argued for almost a decade: rather than the place for internet freedom, it would transform the Web into a place requiring constant micro-management and tutoring of user behavior. Both arguments lead to the conclusion that the current proposal should be at once reformed and analysed under a more holistic lens. On the one hand, Europe should launch an ambitious project for the future, converged infrastructure by mobilising resources and reforming rules to encourage investment into ubiquitous, converged, 'always on' connectivity. On the other hand, enhanced legal certainty for broadband investment could justify a more neutrality-oriented approach to traffic management practices on the Internet. The author proposes a new approach to Internet regulation which, altogether, will lead to a more balanced and sustainable model for the future, without jeopardising user freedom.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy, Infrastructure, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Rym Ayadi, Willem Pieter De Groen
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The 2007-09 global financial crisis led to a virtual collapse in economic activity and increased financial volatility worldwide. For the developing countries, the main channel of transmission has been a drop in external transactions, such as trade, financial and capital flows, and remittances. The southern and eastern Mediterranean countries (SEMC) have also faced declining economic activity, although there seems to be considerable variation in the relative magnitudes and timing of the decline. Most of the economies in the Mediterranean basin have had delayed but longer-lasting consequences as a result of the crisis, driven mostly by their endemic trade and investment ties with the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jacques Pelkmans, Ineke Gubbels-van Hal, Lorna Schrefler
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Right from the start of the REACH debate, following the Commission proposal of October 2003, one of the more serious concerns was whether and how SMEs could cope with REACH. Indeed, there were doubts whether one of the main objectives of REACH – competitiveness of chemical and downstream companies – is consistent with the design and detailed implementation of REACH. Already in 2005, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on this aspect, insisting e.g. on lower fees for SMEs as one remedy to reduce the expected regulatory burden for smaller companies. The fear of REACH being unduly heavy and costly for SMEs has never gone away (see e.g. Gubbels Pelkmans, 2009) but merely receded in the background when the Commission and the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) were in the process of building and elaborating the REACH machinery in operational terms. This year, the problem is rearing its head again in a magnified fashion and it will not go away so easily this time.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Matthias Busse, Christal Morehouse
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Against the background of demographic decline and growing economic competitiveness from emerging economies, this Policy Brief looks into the potential benefits of increased intra-EU labour mobility. On the basis of an examination of the 'German case' on EU labour mobility. It proposes ideas on how to better foster a European fair deal on talent, one that would benefit the EU as a whole. It concludes with a proposal on how to increase the potential benefits of the freedom of movement.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Migration, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: One of the more troublesome features of banks is that they still hold so little equity. In 2013 the capital and reserves of EU banks amounted to only 7.6% of total balance sheets. Well-run businesses outside the banking sector typically hold equity shares of 20%, 30% or more of their balances sheets. For good reasons; these well-run firms know that shocks can occur that could wipe out large parts of their balance sheets. Good business strategy thus leads these firms to hold sufficiently large buffers to avoid bankruptcy.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi, Jacopo Carmassi, Ginevra Bruzzone
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The European Commission proposal for a Regulation establishing a European Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) for banks is now under consideration before the European Parliament and the Council. The main principles and tools applicable for resolving a failing bank are contained in the June 2012 Commission proposal for a Directive on bank recovery and resolution (BRR), aimed at harmonising crisis management and resolution tools in EU member states, which is also under consideration by the European legislators. Any discussion of the new system must therefore be based on both proposals.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: It is still an unresolved question whether a process for financial services regulatory cooperation and convergence will be included in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).From a n end-user's perspective, it could be argued that its inclusion could be an opportunity not only as regards product choice, but also to improve the consumer or investor protection regulatory environment on both sides of the Atlantic. The inclusion would also be in line with the assessments made by both the EU and the US that the G-20 agenda has been incorporated in local legislation and that both regimes are thus 'equivalent'.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Matthias Busse
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) was designed to prevent the emergence of imbalances like the large and persistent current account deficits that occurred in Spain and Ireland. But within this mechanism, a current account surplus is also viewed as a source of concern. Indeed, last year's Alert Mechanism Report (AMR), issued by the European Commission signalled an excessive current account surplus for the Netherlands and Luxembourg, while Germany just barely scraped by with a 5.9% surplus, marginally evading the 6% threshold (over a 3-year average). With the most recent report, however, Germany's status has changed. Along with the Netherlands and Luxembourg, it too has now been singled out as a euro-area country with a surplus above the upper threshold.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Andrea Renda
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief looks at available options for the mid-term review of Europe 2020, which is currently being addressed both by the European Commission and by several Council formations under the aegis of the Italian presidency of the EU, and will be finalised by March 2015.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Infrastructure, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Stefano Micossi
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The eurozone is in recession and will show negative growth in 2012; GDP will fall sharply in Greece and Portugal, and there is substantial risk that Spain and Italy will follow suit (the Commission's recent forecasts seem overly optimistic and complacent; the IMF is more downbeat). But fiscal policies are uniformly restrictive throughout the eurozone and much of the Union, and the hopes that fiscal consolidation could spur growth by improving household and business confidence are not materialising. In reality, domestic demand has been hit too hard by fiscal consolidation, and investment throughout the Union remains well below pre- crisis levels. Credit is tight due to the deteriorating quality of borrowers and the ongoing deleveraging in banking.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Jonas Teusch
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief argues that pursuing the renewables objective could contribute to the completion of the internal electricity market, help to overcome opposition to transmission projects and decrease the market power of incumbents. Conversely, an integrated internal electricity market means less price volatility in specific regional markets, which allows for more efficient deployment and grid integration of renewables.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: One of the major problems of the eurozone is the divergence of the competitive positions that have built up since the early 2000s. This divergence has led to major imbalances in the eurozone where the countries that have seen their competitive positions deteriorate (mainly the so - called ' PIIGS ' – Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain ) have accumulated large current account deficits and thus external indebtedness, matched by current account surpluses of the countries that have improved their competitive positions (mainly Germany).
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Lax financial conditions can foster credit booms. The global credit boom of the last decade led to large capital flows across the world, including large movements of resources from the Northern countries of the euro area towards the Southern part. Since the start of the crisis and more markedly after 2009, these flows have suddenly stopped, creating severe adjustment pressures. This paper argues that, at this point, the common monetary policy can only try to mitigate the unavoidable adjustment by maintaining overall financial stability. The challenge is to strike a delicate balance between providing liquidity for solvent institutions while keeping the overall pressure on for a rapid correction of the imbalances.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Cinzia Alcidi
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Spain faces high unemployment and slow growth. This paper focuses on an important source of those problems, namely its housing market. While some adjustment has occurred since Spain's housing bubble burst in 2008, the authors find that house prices and construction need to decrease more to slow Spain's unsustainable accumulation of foreign debt.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain
  • Author: Rym Ayadi, Emrah Arbak, Willem Pieter De Groen
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Adopted by the European Commission in July 2011, the proposed Capital Requirements Directive and Regulation (CRD IV-CRR) translate into EU law the Basel III standards adopted by the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision (BCBS). Among other things, the proposal increases the quality and quantity of the minimum capital; introduces new rules on liquidity, leverage ratios, counter-cyclical buffers and systemically important financial institutions; and amends the definitions of counterparty credit risk and rules for the banking book. The rules complement the earlier amendments that strengthened the capital and disclosure requirements for the trading book and resecuritization instruments as well as requirements to ensure that remuneration policies do not lead to excessive risk-taking.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Once again the European Council will meet in an emergency session at the end of June, with the eurozone economy in recession and actually plummeting in its Southern periphery. Further doubts are also growing on the sustainability of sovereign debts due to the vicious spiral of deteriorating bank balance sheets, ballooning potential liabilities from banking rescues and widening spreads on government borrowings. The sovereign debt crisis in the periphery has now turned into a fully fledged banking crisis that threatens to spread from Greece to Spain and tomorrow, who knows, to Italy, France and even Germany itself.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, France, Germany, Spain, Italy
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: As the euro crisis continues and unemployment climbs to new heights, the clamour calling for Europe to 'do something' is getting louder. But the real question is: can Europe, or rather the EU, do 'something' that would actually have a real impact on unemployment? In other words, does a European plan or employment strategy make sense?
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: H. Onno Ruding
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The so-called 'euro crisis' is of the utmost economic, financial and political importance for all member countries of the euro area and for the future of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). In my view, however, it is not primarily a euro crisis in the strict sense. The euro itself is of course involved, but, as a currency with a rather stable exchange rate vis-à-vis other currencies and with a major role in global financial markets, it is not at the heart of the crisis. Rather the crisis is a matter of the serious imbalances in the economies of several euro-area countries, particularly their budget deficits and sovereign debts and as well as their lack of competitiveness and balance-of-payments deficits.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Thomas Mayer
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: For most of the time since the early 1950s, national savings in Germany have tended to exceed national investment, resulting in a current account surplus. Most of these excess savings have been intermediated by the domestic banking system, which has had difficulties investing these German surpluses abroad given that it is prohibited by law from taking any exchange rate risk. This tended to keep the surplus within limits most of the time (less than 1- 2% of GDP). With the advent of the euro, however, German surpluses could become much larger and seem now to have become structurally engrained at 6% of GDP, or over one-quarter of savings. Since the start of the euro crisis, German private savers have repatriated their investments – effectively unloading their exposure onto the public sector as German banks have deposited hundreds of billions of euro at the Bundesbank. These funds are being lent by the ECB to banks in the euro area periphery (at 75 bps) – ensuring effectively a negative real return.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Sovereign Wealth Funds
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The sentiment that the euro is now in real danger is based in large part on the widespread conviction that interest rates of 6-7% are simply unsustainable for both Italy and Spain., After taking a closer look at the fundamentals, however, Daniel Gros concludes in this new Policy Brief that both countries should be able to live with this level of interest rates for quite some time, but only if they mobilize domestic savings, which remain strong in both countries. For Spain, some debt/equity swaps are also needed.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain, Italy
  • Author: Stefano Micossi
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Two years after the first Greek rescue in May 2010, crisis management in the eurozone has still failed to restore confidence. A vivid picture of the situation can be found in Figure 1: the constellation of spreads on ten-year sovereign debts over the Bund in the eurozone is wider than it was before monetary union, as though financial markets had already discounted its breakdown. Temporary respites, notably in the early part of 2012, have not interrupted the trend of increasing divergence that risks undermining the credibility of adjustment efforts under way.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jacques Pelkmans, Anabela Correia de Brito
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Effective enforcement and compliance with EU law is not just a legal necessity, it is also of economic interest since the potential of the Single Market will be fully exploited. Enforcement barriers generate unjustified costs and hindrances or uncertainty for cross-border business and might deprive consumers from receiving the full benefit of greater choice and/or cheaper offers.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Law
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Cinzia Alcidi, Alessandro Giovannini
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Different economic and financial structures require different crisis responses. Different crises also require different tools and resources. The first 'stage' of the financial crisis (2007-09) was similar on both sides of the Atlantic, and the response was also quite similar. The second stage of the crisis is unique to the euro area. Increasing financial disintegration within the region has forced the ECB to become the central counterparty for the entire cross-border banking market and to intervene in the sovereign bond market of some stressed countries. The actions undertaken by the European Central Bank (ECB), however, have not always represented the best response, in terms of effectiveness, consistency and transparency. This is especially true for the Securities Markets Programme (SMP): by de facto imposing its absolute seniority during the Greek PSI (private sector involvement), the ECB has probably killed its future effectiveness.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Henk L.M. Kox
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In most EU member states, the business services industry has booked no productivity growth during the last two decades. The industry's performance in the other member states was weaker than that of its US counterparts. Exploring what may be causing this productivity stagnation, this policy brief reports that weak competition has contributed to the continuing malaise in European business services. The study analyzed the persistence (over time) of firm-level inefficiencies. The evidence further suggests that competition between small firms and large firms in business services is weak. Markets for business services work best in countries with flexible regulation on employment change and with low regulatory costs for firms that start up or close down a business. Countries that are more open to foreign competition perform better in terms of competitive selection and productivity.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi, Jacopo Carmassi, Carmine Di Noia
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The European Commission has published its proposals for the transfer of supervisory responsibilities to the European Central Bank (ECB), under Article 127(6) of the TFEU, providing a comprehensive and courageous 'first step' towards a European banking Union, the other steps being European deposit insurance and resolution procedures. However, on a number of issues the Commission's chosen path raises questions that should be brought out in the open and fully recognized before final deliberation by the Council.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Anne Wetzel, Jan Orbie
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: While the EU has recently upgraded its external democracy promotion policies through a set of initiatives such as the “Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean”, the proposal for a “European Endowment of Democracy”, and the “Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy”, there is one challenge that it has not yet addressed: what exactly does it aim to support?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil Society, Democratization, Economics, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Dirk Schoenmaker
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Cross-border banking is currently not stable in Europe. Cross-border banks need a European safety net. Moreover, a truly integrated European level banking system may help to break the diabolical loop between the solvency of the domestic banking system and the fiscal standing of the national sovereign.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alan Riley
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: It may well be that the Gazprom antitrust case launched by DG Competition on September 4th will turn out to be the landmark antitrust case of this decade, as Microsoft was of the last decade. The argument of this paper is that, for a host of political and economic reasons, this case is likely to be hard fought by both sides to a final prohibition decision and then onwards into the EU courts. In the process, the European gas market and the powers of DG Competition in the energy field are likely to be transformed.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Natural Resources, Law
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Thorsten Beck
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The June 2012 European Council decided that the legal basis for the 'Single Supervisory Mechanism' should be Article 127(6) of the Treaty, and that the SSM should 'involve' the ECB. This implies only that supervision should be concentrated within the ECB. In the policy discussion it is, however, generally taken for granted that there should be 'Chinese walls' between the supervisory and monetary policy arms of the ECB. The current legislative proposal is explicit on this account.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Governance
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: As EU leaders muddle through the eurozone crisis, the debate about its root causes continues. CEPS Director Daniel Gros argues in this Policy Brief that the debate is important if we are to understand how to prevent future crises. In his view, external debt is the key to the turmoil in European economies and that the focus on total public debt is therefore misleading.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Two years after the London G-20, CEPS Chief Executive Karel Lannoo finds that the EU is well advanced in delivering on the commitments made for the 2013 target date. Important steps have been taken on the institutional side, and regulatory changes are moving ahead. On some issues, in fact, such as remuneration, the EU has made even greater headway than the US. But certain key sensitive matters remain, such as bank resolution or structural changes.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, London
  • Author: Marcello Messori
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: After the Greek public debt crisis and the bilateral loans to Greece from the other members of the European Monetary Union (EMU), in May 2010 the Ecofin Council launched the European Financial Stabilization Mechanism (EFSM). In June of the same year the EMU countries instituted the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). These two mechanisms, which are charged with providing support to EMU countries in “exceptional difficulty”, received their baptism of fire with Ireland in January 2011 and successfully made their first bond issue on the market.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Christian Kopf
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The pricing of sovereign credit risk is a necessary component of the financial architecture of the European Monetary Union. However, unnecessarily high and volatile risk premia on government bonds are currently preventing effective financial intermediation within the euro area, thereby inhibiting its economic recovery. Several proposals have been made on how these risk premia should be brought down, namely i) permanent pooling of funding through joint bond issuance, ii) temporary liquidity assistance through multilateral funds, iii) debt buybacks using multilateral funds, and iv) debt restructuring.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi, Fabrizia Peirce, Jacopo Carmassi
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In recent weeks pressures on the euro and eurozone sovereign debtors have subsided. Buoyant growth in the global economy, increasingly benefiting also the European economy, has of course played an important role in calming financial markets. But even more important has been the perception that France and Germany are again working constructively for a strong economic Europe. More broadly, the acute turbulence in financial markets since the spring of 2010 may have finally convinced our political leaders, notably including the German political establishment, that the benefits of a stable currency far outweigh the costs that may have to be borne to make it work properly. The euro will only be trusted if the member states effectively coordinate their economic policies not only to ensure fiscal stability, but also to eliminate persistent divergences in productivity leading to unsustainable imbalances between national savings and investment (Schäuble, 2011).
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Germany
  • Author: Jacques Pelkmans
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: With the Commission's consultation period on the Single Market Act (European Commission, 2010) nearing its end, it is high time for the EU to get its act together. Priority should immediately be restored to the issue of the Single Market, and EU powers to deepen and widen the internal market, where economically justifiable, ought to be utilized to the full. This CEPS Policy Brief explains why.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: For the present UK government, full accession to the Schengen area, a passport- free travel area covering most of Europe, is a red line that it will not cross. Ireland shares a common travel area and land border with the UK and is also bound by this decision. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the UK, along with Ireland, is suffering serious economic and reputational costs as a result of its separate visa and border management policies.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Europe, Ireland
  • Author: José M. Abad, Axel Löffler, Holger Zemanek
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the implications of a continued divergence of TARGET2 balances for monetary policy in the euro area. The accumulation of TARGET2 claims (liabilities) would make the ECB's liquidity management asymmetric once the TARGET2 claims in core countries have crowded out central bank credit in those regions. Then while providing scarce liquidity to banks in countries with TARGET2 liabilities, the ECB will need to absorb excess liquidity in countries with TARGET2 claims. We discuss three alternatives and their implications for absorbing excess liquidity in core regions: 1) using market-based measures might accelerate the capital flight from periphery to core countries and would add to the accumulation of risky assets by the EC B; 2) conducting non-mark et based measures, such as imposing differential (unremunerated) reserve requirements, would distort banking markets and would support the development of shadow banking; and 3) staying passive would lead to decreasing interest rates in core Europe entailing inflationary pressure and overinvestment in those regions and possibly future instability of the banking system.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christian Kopf
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: French commercial banks are proposing a swap of €85.5 billion in Greek government bonds maturing between 2011 and 2014 into a combination of new long-term Greek bonds with principal guarantee and cash payments. If this initiative were implemented under the proposed parameters, private creditors would only suffer a minimal haircut and official lenders would be provided with cash-flow relief of around €20 billion over the next three years, but the solvency of the Hellenic Republic would worsen significantly.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Hans-Joachim Dübel
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: 'Blue' or Eurobonds guaranteed via joint and several liability by the eurozone member states have been proposed as an important tool to stabilise and structure the eurozone sovereign bond markets. But in this new Policy Brief, Hans-Joachim Dübel argues the case for a partial insurance of sovereign bonds by the European Stability Mechanism. Hans-Joachim Dübel is an independent financial sector consultant based in Berlin and founder of Finpolconsult.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Berlin
  • Author: Diego Valiante
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Eurozone debt crisis has now reached a turning point. This paper argues for a more organised intervention by the ECB to stop contagion through the creation of a quantitative easing programme, coupled with a political agreement among member states on a more federalist budget for the Eurozone.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: José M. Abad, Javier Hernández Galante
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: On September 7th, five weeks after the European Central Bank (ECB) started buying Spanish bonds as part of its Securities Market Programme, and four weeks since Merkel and Sarkozy announced their proposal of writing debt limits into national laws, the Spanish Parliament has approved a constitutional reform that, by constraining the general government's spending and borrowing capacity, aims to mitigate concerns over public finances. This reform, the second since the current Constitution was enacted by referendum in 1978, has been made possible by an agreement between the ruling socialists (PSOE) and the main opposition party (conservative PP).
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Is a high level of public debt inherently more dangerous within a monetary union? During the 1990s it was often argued that only by entering the EMU could Italy (or Spain) protect itself from the high interest rates it had to pay on its large public debt. The argument was that by joining the single currency, Italy could convince financial markets that it would not inflate away the value of its debt and hence benefit from lower risk premia.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain, Italy
  • Author: Roderick Kefferpütz
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: At long last commodity prices have declined from their pre-summer highs. Many raw materials are now trading at significantly lower prices, giving temporary respite to industry. Red-hot copper, the bellwether of the metals sector, for example, has pulled back from its peak of $10,000 a tonne. Even the astronomical rise of the previously little-known rare earth elements has reversed.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: I met Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa in the early 1970s as a new young professional in the Research Department of Banca d'Italia, where he was head of the monetary policy unit. Many of us newcomers, fresh from American graduate studies, were appalled by the Bank's monetary approach, replete with quantitative controls and administrative measures to channel funds to an insatiable Treasury.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Governance
  • Political Geography: America, Europe
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: One positive effect of the euro crisis is that it has provoked Europe to engage in a profound debate on the form and degree of federalism it needs. Even if, until recently, many would have argued that Europe is not a federal state, the EU already has many elements of such a governance model in place, of which European citizens are hardly aware. Many competences are uniquely attributed to the EU. Legislation in several fields of EU competence can be adopted with a qualified majority of member states. Only in a few areas, such as taxation, is unanimity still required, even after the new Lisbon Treaty has come into effect. The same applies for changes to the EU Treaty itself.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Some eighteen months after the first Greek rescue (May 2010), there is little doubt that the multiple attempts at crisis management in the eurozone have failed to restore confidence. Indeed, following each round of emergency measures agreed by the eurozone summits, matters have turned for the worse (see Figure 1 for the widening spreads, over the German Bund, for sovereign borrowing in the eurozone). At the time of writing, contagion has spread beyond Spain and Italy to the core sovereigns, with France close to losing its triple A rating and even Germany experiencing partial failure in a Bund auction on November 23rd. Spreads are also opening up for Austria, Belgium, Finland and even the virtuous Netherlands. Meanwhile, the banking system Europe- wide is under increasing strain, with term funding all but closed for any bank with significant exposure to distressed sovereign debtors and the interbank market close to seizing up. Deposit withdrawals have surfaced in a number of large banks from the periphery. The euro has started to weaken in foreign exchange markets, narrowing the room for a distinction between eurozone debt crisis and euro-currency crisis from which some observers were until recently drawing comfort.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The crisis that started in Greece culminated into a crisis of the Eurozone as a whole. How did we get into this mess? To answer this question it is useful to distinguish the three actors that have played a role in the development of the crisis: Greece, the financial markets (including the rating agencies) and the eurozone authorities. Let us analyse the role of these three actors in the drama.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Thomas Mayer
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Despite cobbling together an impressive $1 trillion rescue package for countries with potential funding problems, the threat of a disorderly default still looms over the eurozone, creating systemic financial instability at the EU and possibly global level. Against this background, Daniel Gros and Thomas Mayer renew their call for the creation of a European Monetary Fund (EMF) in an update to their Policy Brief issued in February.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Stefano Micossi, Paola Parascandolo
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: As a rule, multinational enterprises (MNEs) are taxed separately by the countries in which they operate on the basis of the income produced in each jurisdiction ('source' taxation). To this end, they must keep separate accounts for business units in each country (“separate accounting”, SA) ascribing each item of expenditure and income to each business unit on the basis – by universally accepted convention – of 'arm's-length' pricing (ALP), that is, of comparable or estimated prices for similar market transactions between unrelated companies.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Cinzia Alcidi
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This crisis was caused by a combination of asset price bubbles, mainly in the real estate sector, and a credit bubble that led to excessive leverage. This is wellknown. What is less well-known is that on both accounts the euro area was affected by both 'bubble' symptoms as much as the US.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Since 2003, the EU and the US have conducted a vibrant regulatory dialogue on financial regulation, but domestic priorities seem to have taken precedence in response to the financial crisis. This paper compares the institutional and regulatory changes occurring on both sides of the Atlantic. On the institutional side, it compares macro- and micro-prudential reforms. On the regulatory side, it compares four key areas: bank capital requirements, reform of the OTC derivative markets, and the regulation of credit ratings agencies and hedge funds. It concludes by highlighting certain implications for the regulatory dialogue.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Yonghyup Oh
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The euro area is facing a challenge with Greece in danger of falling into sovereign default and some of its other members, the so-called 'GIPSY' nations, finding themselves in serious financial distress. Creation of a European Monetary Fund to deal more effectively with this type of situation is gaining support. This paper draws lessons from the Asian experience that might be applied to the current European development.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: H. Onno Ruding
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Financial reform is needed now in the EU not only to reduce the likelihood of another financial crisis in the coming years but also to reinforce the internal market. A primary financial as well as political goal should be to create a truly single market in Europe for financial services and institutions. The current state of affairs is, however, still too far removed from this goal.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Thomas Mayer
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The case of Greece has ushered in the second phase of the financial crisis, namely that of sovereign default. Members of the euro area were supposed to be shielded from a financial market meltdown. But, after excess spending during the period of easy credit, several euro area members are now grappling with the implosion of credit-financed construction and consumption booms. Greece is the weakest of the weak links, given its high public debt (around 120% of GDP), compounded by a government budget deficit of almost 13% of GDP, a huge external deficit of 11% of GDP and the loss of credibility from its repeated cheating on budget reports.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The survival of the eurozone hinges on the capacity of its leaders to improve its governance. This has become very clear since the eruption of the government debt crisis in the eurozone in 2009, which can be said to result from a failure of economic governance. In order to answer the question of how the economic governance of the eurozone should be reformed, we should first make a diagnosis of the crisis in which the eurozone has been mired since 2009.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Cinzia Alcidi
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In June 2010, both the European Commission and the European Central Bank published documents containing ideas for enhancing European economic governance. Both proposals stress the need for stronger surveillance on a country-by-country basis and the effective enforcement of surveillance through incentives and a wider spectrum of sanctions.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Francesco Paolo Mongelli
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The headwinds facing the euro area are many and substantial: there is no pretence of denial. While most attention is correctly devoted to the size of rescue packages for some countries and the terms of crisis management and resolution mechanisms, we argue that these challenges must also be met from within the euro area. We are aided by a simple framework illustrating how the benefits the euro can generate depend on the degree of openness, flexibility and income correlation among euro area countries. Sharing the euro has steadily transformed euro area economies that are now deeply interconnected. This is generating largely benign effects that represent the intrinsic value of the euro area: it is a shared asset. Yet, such integration has provided the ground for the transmission of the sovereign crisis: through financial exposure, trade linkages and cross-country asset ownership.
  • Topic: Economics, Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Stefano Micossi, Richard Baldwin, Giuliano Amato, Pier Carlo Padoan
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Under current policies, the European Union will only be able to pull itself out of low growth and high unemployment very slowly – too slowly to exclude dangerous economic and political assaults on the Union's continuing cohesion and viability. What is needed is a substantial increase in the EU output growth rate, which has been persistently low for too long a time. With low growth, sovereign debt sustainability in a number of member states will remain uncertain, possibly leading to renewed strains in financial markets and rising spreads that will aggravate the costs of budgetary consolidation. The divergences in productivity and competitiveness and the current external imbalances they engendered can be unwound at an acceptable cost only if growth accelerates in the core and the periphery. On present trends, the adjustment burden might be unbearable for peripheral countries and generate strains that may eventually undermine the euro.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christian Fahrholz, Cezary Wójcik
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Roger Ailes, a former advisor to Ronald Reagan, recalls in his book an intriguing practice of the ancient Romans: when they finished building a bridge or an arch, they enforced accountability by placing the engineer in charge beneath the construction when the scaffolding was removed. If the edifice did not hold, he was the first to know. We do not follow such drastic practices these days in Europe, but with some European economies shaking and the Greek sovereign debt crisis still not over, the architecture of the euro area has been certainly come under severe stress. Unfortunately, the 28-29 October 2010 European Council Summit has not made this architecture much safer.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Elena Gnedina
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The 2009 gas dispute between Ukraine and Russia has led to a severe drop in Russian gas supplies to some EU member states. The dispute has once again shown that the status quo is defective and unsustainable as a policy. This Policy Brief argues that – beyond ad hoc temporary measures, such as the monitoring by EU experts agreed on January 12th and the 2009-10 price agreement apparently reached on January 18th – the problem needs a comprehensive and robust solution. This would be a gas transit consortium, bringing all major stakeholders – Gazprom, Naftohaz, one or a few European energy companies, and the international financial institutions – to jointly manage the trans-Ukrainian trunk pipeline. The consortium agreement would be underwritten politic ally and legally by a tripartite treaty to be ratified by the EU, Russia and Ukraine. The consortium should be bound by European standards of transparency, corporate governance and accounting in order to tackle the major problem – the lack of trust – in the EU- Ukraine-Russia energy triangle.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Asbjørn Aaheim, Marianne Aasen
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: An attempt to summarise the state of knowledge about social and economic challenges related to climate change, for example based on the latest IPCC reports, would probably give the impression that impacts, adaptation and vulnerability are a question of interactions between people and institutions within small local communities (IPCC, 2007a), whereas mitigation can be addressed by political analyses and economics (IPCC, 2007b). In most economic studies, the motivation behind mitigation is presented as that of limiting greenhouse gas emissions to a given target
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christian Egenhofer, Noriko Fujiwara
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) is designed to help EU member states achieve their commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a cost-effective way. It was not meant to work as a stand-alone tool but as part of the package of abatement measures across the board. It is a cap-and-trade system. Member states first impose caps on GHG emissions – initially only CO2 until 2012 – from installations in specified sectors, mainly the power sector and industry subsectors (e.g. steel, cement, glass, paper and pulp). Emissions from these sectors amount to 40% of total EU emissions. Next, they allocate allowances to installations. Each installation surrenders a number of allowances equal to the total emissions from that installation during the preceding year.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: For small financially active countries the exchange rate assumes particular importance, not only as a shock absorber, but potentially also as a source of shocks during financial market crises. This is very much in evidence today in the case of Iceland which is being hit hard by the recent turbulence in financial markets.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi, Maria Teresa Salvemini, Alfonso Iozzo
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The present budget of the European Union has long ceased to represent European policy priorities; it is the result of decisions taken decades ago and subsequent incremental adjustments decided under the pressure of external events or for political expediency. Its increasing detachment from emerging needs and policy priorities undermines support for the Union among public opinion.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jørgen Mortensen, ain Begg, Juraj Draxler
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief picks up the main observations and arguments included in a study undertaken by CEPS for the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission. It was presented by Iain Begg at a major Commission conference in Brussels on 16 April 2008, which had broad attendance by officials, media people and researchers, and was concluded by a keynote speech by José Manuel Barroso, President of the Commission. The conference took place at a time of emerging financial crisis and rising oil and food prices, aspects emphasised by some speakers as elements throwing new light on some of the arguments in the report. Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament, stressed that promotion of knowledge and innovation constitutes an important condition for enhancing the competitiveness of the European economy. Thus, the Union should take on a leadership role in combining globalisation with social policy, fighting climate change and fostering environmental stability. Mr. Barroso, in his conclusions underlined the necessity of a renewal of social policies based on equal opportunities, access and solidarity.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The time is not only ripe but pressing for the EU and the states of the Western Balkans to recalibrate and reinforce the current pre-accession strategy. Trade policy should be moved beyond existing free trade commitments for all the Western Balkans to enter the customs union of the EU and Turkey. Eurozone doctrine should be adapted to realities. Rather than regarding the use of the euro by Montenegro and Kosovo as an unfortunate turn of events, the costs and benefits of unilateral adoption of the euro by not-yet member states of the region should be more openly appraised, and the option to 'euroise' recognised as a possibility. It is good that the EU has moved at the declaratory level toward s visa 'liberalisation', which means scrapping visas rather than just 'facilitation' measures. However the Commission has not yet published guidelines or timelines for this. The region should be put on track for access to the Structural Funds on terms and scales progressively approaching those from which new member states such as Bulgaria and Romania already benefit. The ratio of these aid receipts between the new member states and the Western Balkans is currently 4:1; the former are receiving more than they can handle efficiently, whereas the Western Balkans have huge unsatisfied needs. Overall the case is made for significant moves towards 'functional membership' of the whole of the region with the EU, which would be a highly useful advance, irrespective of how or when the EU overcomes its Lisbon Treaty hiatus.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Balkans, Romania, Lisbon
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The paradigm that financial markets are efficient has provided the intellectual backbone for the deregulation of the banking sector since the 1980s, allowing universal banks to be fully involved in financial markets, and investment banks to become involved in traditional banking. There is now overwhelming evidence that financial markets are not efficient. Bubbles and crashes are an endemic feature of financial markets in capitalist countries. Thus, as a result of deregulation, the balance sheets of universal banks became fully exposed to these bubbles and crashes, undermining the stability of the banking system. The Basel approach to stabilise the banking system has as an implicit assumption that financial markets are efficient, allowing us to model the risks universal banks take and to compute the required capital ratios that will minimise this risk. I argue that this approach is unworkable because the risks that matter for universal banks are tail risks, associated with bubbles and crashes. These cannot be quantified. As a result, there is only one way out, and that is to return to narrow banking, a model that emerged after the previous large-scale banking crisis of the 1930s but that was discarded during the 1980s and 1990s under the influence of the efficient market paradigm.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Hakim Darbouche
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's statement to Spain's El País1 that the idea of a 'gas-OPEC' should not a priori be excluded, adds to a series of twists, among which was Vladimir Putin's confirmation on 1 February that the idea of a gas cartel was an 'interesting one' worth considering further. Hitherto, this gas saga featured Russia, Algeria, the EU, NATO and Iran. The story revolves around Russian-Algerian mingling on gas matters, spurring European and Transatlantic concerns over the prospects of a 'gas OPEC'. At a time of increasing European dependence on foreign energy supplies, these developments have been interpreted as being part of a wider effort, led by Russia, to use energy as a lever to undermine European diplomacy. These allegations have been dismissed by Algeria and Russia, whose leaders insist that their cooperation is intended to optimise their benefits and those of their customers alike. This paper examines the underpinnings of these developments by assessing the likelihood of their culmination in a gas cartel and offers an insight into the potential policy choices behind them.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Algeria
  • Author: Hannu Piekkola
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Regional disparities in the growth rates of GDP and total factor productivity (TFP) are a major policy concern in the European Union, not least because of the inclusion of new transition economies in the EU. The growth rate of a nation's TFP especially depends on its level of human capital rather than the increasing rate of human capital. The growth that is driven by innovation and the catching-up process spurred by technology imitation relies on educationbased human capital and related agglomeration. This explains why education provides a permanent advantage, which over time may increase in importance in the labour market.
  • Topic: Economics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Irene Blanco, Arancha Simó, Consuelo Varela-Ortega
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper focuses on the comparative analysis and evaluation of the impact of multifunctionality on the agricultural sector for different scenarios that take into account the protection of the environment and natural resources as well as the international trade agreements in the context of the EU agricultural sector. The research focuses on two different regions in Spain that represent the continental agriculture of the region of Castilla-Leon in the northern central plateau and the Mediterranean fertile agriculture of Andalusia in the south. The analysis has been carried out based on mathematical programming models that simulate farmers' behaviour and their response to the different policy scenarios that correspond to the EU agricultural policies (CAP programmes) and water policies (Water Framework Directive) currently in place. Specifically, these scenarios are: full and partial decoupling, subsidy modulation, crop prices reduction, cross-compliance measures and water pricing policies. Results indicate that the new decoupled CAP will not lead to drastic changes in land use in the two regions studied but will have negative repercussions on farmers' income. Moreover, the introduction of additional measures, such as cross-compliance, will contribute substantially to improving and protecting the environment even though they amount to an additional cost for farmers. Reduction in crop prices will have significant effects on international trade and is likely to produce a reduction in farm intensification and hence a beneficial effect on the environment but will involve negative socio-economic impacts in marginal rain-fed farms. As regards the integration of agricultural and water conservation policies, the application of the EU Water Framework Directive in conjunction with the new CAP reform would produce different regionspecific effects and might question the viability of a number of irrigated farms in Spain.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain
  • Author: Kevin Hanrahan, Trevor Donnellan
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The economic impact of trade policy reforms on various sectors of the economy receives more attention than the effects on the environment. This may be partly owing to the secondary importance attributed to environmental or multifunctionality issues when economic consequences take centre stage. An additional consideration, however, may be the practical difficulties of bringing together models that examine the economic impact of trade policy reforms and models that can measure environmental or multifunctionality indicators.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ireland
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Much has been achieved in upgrading and integrating the 'governance' of the European financial system in recent years. In parallel with the successful adoption of the Financial Services Action Plan (FSAP), the EU managed to reform its regulatory structure, extending what was proposed by the Lamfalussy Committee for securities markets in early 2001 to banking and insurance. The EU thus created permanent committees of securities, banking and insurance supervisors (the 'Level 3 Committees' – CESR, CEBS and CEIOPS). This rapid reform demonstrated that national authorities were capable of overcoming domestic biases, adapting the supervisory structure, and instituting a much greater degree of supervisory cooperation than had existed previously.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In the spring of 2004, the European Commission approved a draft Directive on Services in the Internal Market and sent it to the Council and the European Parliament. The proposal is the cornerstone of the ailing Lisbon strategy to revive growth and jobs in the European Union: services account for 70% of GDP and employment in advanced countries, and their performance is a main determinant of overall productivity and employment growth. In the European Union, the markets for services are still organised along national lines, cross border trade remains relatively underdeveloped and competition is scarce. The productivity gap with the United States is largely explained by these obstacles.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Christian Egenhofer, Joe Kruger
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Emissions trading is a market-based mechanism designed to allow firms to choose the most cost effective strategy to meet environmental standards. The success of SO2 and NOx emissions trading systems in the United States and the launch of the ambitious European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) underscore the value of emissions trading as a tool for environmental policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Paul J. G. Tang, Richard Nahuis
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Kyoto Protocol binds the level of greenhouse gas emissions in participating countries. It does, however, not dictate how the countries are to achieve this level. The economic costs of reaching emission targets are generally evaluated to be low. For example, evaluations with applied general-equilibrium models estimate the costs to be in the range of 0.2% to 0.5% of GDP, when international trade in emissions rights among governments is allowed for. We argue that important costs are overlooked since governments are inclined to choose highly distorting tax schemes.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: More than half way into the decade, it is clear that the ambitious goal to make the EU the 'most competitive economy' by 2010 will be missed. This contribution shows that investing more in education would be the key in terms of employment, a central element in the Lisbon goal. Improving the skills of the EU's population would have, inter alia, a direct impact on the employment rate. Reaching the Lisbon goal of an employment rate of 70% would be possible even without labour market reforms if the average level of qualification of the EU were to reach the benchmarks in this area (which in turn are very close to the values reached by the best performing member states).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Rym Ayadi
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Following seven years of painstaking and demanding negotiations, European bankers and regulators breathed a sigh of relief when the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD) finally got through the European Parliament on 28 September 2005, and was formally approved by the Council of Ministers of the 25 EU member states on 11 October 2005. The new CRD will finally apply the complex, risk-sensitive Basel II capital adequacy rules to some 8,000 European banks and some 2,000 investments firms in two stages, the first in January 2007 and the second one year later.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Richard E. Baldwin
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Thanks to the British Freedom of Information Act, the list of all CAP payments to English farms is public. It shows that the CAP is a dooH niboR scheme (that's Robin Hood spelled backwards). Table 1 records the CAP receipts for some of Britain's richest royalty. Why do royalty get paid? The CAP makes payments to farm owners, not to farmers, and about 40% of EU farmland is not farmed by its owner.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Karel Lannoo, Jean-Pierre Casey
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The debate on banking supervision over the last decade has largely focused on capital requirements and solvency of financial institutions. The interaction between solvency and liquidity has been much less debated. Traditionally, it was assumed that once solvency was under control, liquidity should pose no problem. Banks with sufficient capital should be able to obtain extra liquidity from the central bank against adequate collateral if needed. Furthermore, the aim of the New Basel Accord to create a better alignment of regulatory capital with the risk to which banks are exposed, and the stronger focus on diversification, should eventually reduce mismatches between solvency and effective liquidity.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Rym Ayadi
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: After almost seven years of hard work to produce a new substantive piece of legislation updating the current banking regulation for European credit institutions and investment firms – the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD) – it looks like its timely adoption is still uncertain. The main problem is the dissatisfaction of Parliament with its limited role in comitology and in the Lamfalussy process, which has led it to suspend 'temporarily' the comitology provisions of the CRD, casting doubt over the future ability to amend the legislation. The European Constitution addresses Parliament's concern about ensuring democratic accountability in the comitology process in Art. 36. The pause for reflection on the Constitution prompted by the no-votes in the French and Dutch referenda has re-ignited the issue and is forcing EU institutions to seek a new inter-institutional agreement on this issue.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Thomas L. Brewer
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: With increasing Congressional support for funding climate change technology programmes, as reflected in passage of the Hagel/Pryor amendment to the energy policy bill in June 2005, issues about the climate change budget are becoming more salient. In this Policy Brief, Congressional and Presidential actions on several recent budgets are examined for the four principal areas of the climate change budget: technology, science, international and tax credits. The emphasis is on energy technology in particular, because of its salience in current policy discussions and its relative size in financial terms. Highlights of the findings include the following: Congress imposed substantial (63.3%) increases over the administration's climate change technology proposals for 2004 and then small increases for FY2005. For 2006, the administration has proposed reductions compared with the Congressionally-enacted levels in the technology component – reductions in both nominal and inflation-adjusted terms (-4.1% and -5.6%, respectively). The administration has also proposed cuts for fiscal 2006 in the science and international programmes (-2.9 and -19.0% in real terms). These and other differences in Presidential and Congressional approaches to funding climate change programs provide further evidence that the Presidential-Congressional divide on climate policy is continuing to widen. There is an emerging bi-partisan Congressional coalition in favour of increased spending on a wide range of climate change programmes. This shift will affect EU-US relations on climate change issues for the remainder of the current administration until 2008, and beyond as well.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Richard E. Baldwin
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The failure to reach a budget deal at the June summit may prove a blessing in disguise. The spectacular failure of the European Council to agree the last-minute compromise on the 2007-2013 Financial Perspective generated massively negative media coverage. In the short run, it will create huge difficulties for the EU, but things might have been even worse had they agreed.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jean-Pierre Casey, Jacques Pelkmans
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The SAPIR report (Sapir et al., 2003) is important for Europe. The justification of and search for higher economic growth in the EU ought to be on the very top of the EU agenda everywhere. Offering a very rich and useful survey of many issues related to European growth, or indeed the lack of it, the report's analysis is insightful and should be compulsory reading for policy-makers and political leaders. Sapir et al.'s policy recommendations are numerous and rightly touch economic as well as institutional aspects at EU level.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alan Riley
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that the US Civil False Claims Act of 1986 (hereafter CFCA) could provide the European Community with a means to effectively protect the largely decentralised revenue collection and expenditure of the Community bud get. It also offers a solution to the difficulty of creating an effective means of investigation and penalisation of cross-border fraud without having to create a Community criminal law or a European Public Prosecutor.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The ECB has just published the opening balance sheet for the Eurosystem, which is the official name given to the ECB plus the 11 national central banks of the euro zone. All 15 national central banks are part of the ESCB, but the participation of the four outsiders is purely formal. The balance sheet, which is reproduced at the end of this Commentary, reveals two very interesting facts: During 1998, the national central banks of the euro zone increased their holdings of dollar foreign exchange reserves by the equivalent of about 38 bn euro. This means that they de facto intervened consistently to support the dollar during that year. The ECB starts with huge foreign exchange reserves: 237 bn euro plus gold worth 100 bn euro. This is much more than the amount held by the US Federal Reserve and constitutes a major share of the reserves held by all OECD countries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The outcome of the first round of wage negotiations in post-EMU Germany sheds some new light on the old question: What impact will the euro have on labour markets and unemployment? Economists would say that it depends on the structure of the bargaining process. In wage-setting, it seems that either one of the two extremes of full centralisation or complete fragmentation is conducive to low inflation and unemployment.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany