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  • 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
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: With the successful launch of the euro, the start of ESCB monetary policy operations and the operation of Target payment system, the previously national interbank bank markets have been integrated at once in a unified euro interbank market. Outstanding public debt was redenominated in euro, trading conventions harmonised and all EMU stock markets have started quoting in euro. This does not, however, bring us at once to a US-style capital market. Euroland remains profoundly different from the US in the weight of the regions and the importance of banks.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Jeffrey A. Frankel
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The recent financial crises in many emerging market economies have raised anew questions about the appropriate exchange-rate regime and the use of capital controls as policy instruments. The use of both mechanisms should be tailored to each country's unique circumstances. Fixed exchange-rate mechanisms, such as dollarization (adopting the dollar as legal tender in place of the national currency), are suited to small open economies or those desperate to import monetary stability. Larger economies, such as the European Union (EU) and the United States, should allow their currencies to float. Intermediate regimes that fall between fixed- and floating-rate regimes—such as bands, baskets, and crawls (See Figure 1 for definitions)—are still appropriate for some countries. Certain well-targeted restrictions on the composition of capital flows might be appropriate for some emerging-market countries as temporary measures when inflows are particularly high.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Ivo H. Daalder
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: At the threshold of a new century, NATO needs a new purpose. A NATO maintained solely as a hedge against an uncertain future (including a possibly resurgent Russia) will become increasingly marginal to the interests of its members. A shift in emphasis to defending common global interests risks magnifying discord among Alliance members. Instead, NATO's purpose should now be to extend security and stability to all of Europe. This will require placing more emphasis on the ability to conduct crisis management operations in the region and taking practical, visible steps to keep the door to NATO membership wide open.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Todd Sechser
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The United States has spent over $3 billion addressing the nuclear proliferation threat from Russia since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Programs managed by the Departments of Defense, Energy, and State have helped safeguard Russia's enormous stockpiles of nuclear material, dismantle nuclear-tipped missiles, and keep nuclear scientists employed in Russia and out of other nations' nuclear programs.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Jon B. Wolfsthal
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Russia's nuclear weapons complex is spread across 10 remote, closed and formerly secret “nuclear cities,” which employ almost 1 million scientists, engineers and technicians. Moscow's economic collapse has left these former “jewels” in the Russian nuclear crown struggling to survive, and workers with access to nuclear materials and expertise routinely go for months without getting paid. The U.S. Department of Energy, as part of the Clinton Administration's cooperative threat reduction efforts, has launched the Nuclear Cities Initiative (NCI) to reduce the proliferation risks created by the poor economic conditions in these closed cities. By promoting the development of private industry in these cities, NCI seeks to prevent a brain drain of Russian nuclear experts to would-be nuclear-weapon states.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Walt Patterson
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: As governments around the world liberalize their electricity systems, they are overturning the guiding principles that have shaped electricity for the past century. Yet they continue to regard electricity as a public service. The consequent inconsistencies and contradictions are already evident, and intensifying. This Briefing Paper outlines the implications. It is based on a research project now under way in the Energy and Environmental Programme, entitled Keeping the Lights On: Public Service in Liberalized Electricity. For details please see the back page.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: David Bright
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: One of the most interesting consequences of the development of the European Union has been the stimulus it has given in recent years to the rediscovery of region within European states. As the supra-state functions of the European institutions in Brussels have burgeoned and the intrinsic sovereignty of the state in Europe has declined, so regions have acquired an ever greater social and political significance. Of course, in some cases, the state was traditionally federal in nature—as with Germany\'s Länder system—and, politically at least, regional aspirations have been satisfied. In the past two decades, however, regional aspirations have expanded into social and cultural spheres that require a new, defined political context. Even in such long-established states as the United Kingdom, such pressures now have to be acknowledged as sub-state factors enter into the complex array of political elements that go to make up the contemporary Union. In this context the Spanish experience is illuminating, both in the way it demonstrates how such tendencies should be accommodated and in the way in which regional populations respond. It is, in fact, a paradigm for a development that will become inevitable and universal as the power of the state declines within the wider structures of contemporary \'Euroland\'.
  • Topic: Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Tom Barry, Robert Weissman, Martha Honey
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Africa and the developing world are facing an HIV/AIDS crisis equated by the U.S. surgeon general to the plague that decimated Europe in the fourteenth century. Combinations of available pharmaceuticals-too expensive for nearly all of the infected people in the developing world-could enable many afflicted with HIV/AIDS to live relatively normal lives. Compulsory licensing and parallel importing policies could help developing country governments make essential medicines more affordable to their citizens.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Science and Technology, Third World
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe