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  • Author: Anna-Elisabeth Thum, Nicolas Contreras, Elisa Martellucci
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This report aims at understanding how persons aged 50 years and older are and can be integrated into the working society in Belgium. We are interested in how people in this age group can be induced to engage in various forms of employment and lifelong learning. Based on secondary literature, descriptive databases as well as interviews with experts and focus groups, we find that the discussion on active ageing in Belgium is well advanced with numerous contributions by academics, stakeholders, social partners, the public administration and interest groups. The wish to retire at 60 is widely shared but at the same time the majority of Belgium's elderly are able and would be willing to work under specific conditions. Therefore, we recommend that Belgium should invest in more flexible systems including a revision of the tax scheme, such as the part-time retirement system proposed by the insurance company Delta Lloyd. An equally relevant recommendation would be to ensure that public employment agencies, employers and agencies that provide training encourage all workers to work and learn regardless of their age.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe, Belgium
  • Author: Elena Gnedina, Evghenia Sleptsova
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Ukraine has long been castigated for its noncommittal attitude to cooperation with the EU, this being part of its 'multi-vector' foreign policy. Such a policy was widely attributed to the failings of domestic elites, which delay reform for fear of losing rents and power. This CEPS Working Document suggests, however, that the recent setback in EU-Ukraine relations highlights more complex reasons behind this. First, it asserts that a pro-European vector is not a self-evident choice for Ukraine, which is economically interdependent with both Russia and the EU. Second, it finds that the economic crisis has made the EU less attractive in the short term. In good times business was looking to Europe for opportunities to develop. But in times of crisis, it is looking to Russia for cheap resources to survive. Despite these unfavourable short-term trends, the authors conclude that an association agreement with the EU stands out as the only alternative that promises to put the shaky Ukrainian economy back on track towards long-term sustainable economic growth.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper presents a simple model that incorporates two types of sovereign default cost: first, a lump-sum cost due to the fact that the country does not service its debt fully and is recognised as being in default status, by ratings agencies, for example. Second, a cost that increases with the size of the losses (or haircut) imposed on creditors whose resistance to a haircut increases with the proportional loss inflicted upon them.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Andrea Renda, Fabrizio Cafaggi
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Private governance is currently being evoked as a viable solution to many public policy goals. However, in some circumstances it has shown to produce more harm than good, and even disastrous consequences as in the case of the financial crisis that is raging in most advanced economies. Although the current track record of private regulatory schemes is mixed, policy guidance documents around the world still require that policy-makers give priority to self-and co-regulation, with little or no additional guidance being given to policymakers to devise when, and under what circumstances, these solutions can prove viable from a public policy perspective. With an array of examples from several policy fields, this paper approaches regulation as a public-private collaborative form and attempts to identify possible policy tools to be applied by public policy-makers to efficiently and effectively approach private governance as a solution, rather than a problem. We propose a six-step theoretical framework and argue that IA techniques should: i) define an integrated framework including both the possibility that private regulation can be used as an alternative or as a complement to public legislation; ii) involve private parties in public IAs in order to define the best strategy or strategies that would ensure achievement of the regulatory objectives; and iii) contemplate the deployment of indicators related to governance and activities of the regulators and their ability to coordinate and solve disputes with other regulators.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Giacomo Luciani
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper looks at restrictions of passage, accidents and oil transportation norms as causes of interruption in oil supplies. The key 'chokepoints' are discussed in detail: the Straits of Hormuz, Malacca, Bab el-Mandeb, the Canals of Suez and Panama, the Turkish Straits and the entrance to the Baltic Sea. It is concluded that in most cases the danger of closure can only be temporary; nevertheless, investment in bypasses and alternatives is highly desirable, and in the case of the Turkish Straits, has not been forthcoming. The discussion then turns to threats to navigation outside the chokepoints, such as piracy and oil spills in enclosed seas, particularly the Mediterranean. The final section looks at changing international norms, especially the entry into force of the requirement of double hulls for oil tankers. The paper's main conclusion is that there is no scenario of interruption of maritime oil and gas transportation that may cause a severe physical shortage of oil, in general or specifically for Europe. In almost all cases potential tensions could be easily allayed if responsible governments took the necessary steps to create alternatives (notably pipeline bypasses) or to curb illegal activities. The main factor preventing the required investment in transportation alternatives is the lack of a well-functioning market mechanism for burden sharing. Where passage must be paid for, the resulting income stream supports investment to increase capacity and accommodate growing demand.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Oil, Maritime Commerce, Piracy
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Consuelo Pacchioli
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: As an alternative to measuring the extent of market integration, 'home-bias' indicates the degree to which economic agents 'over-prefer' to transact with domestic agents rather than agents from other EU countries. Such an exclusive preference is measured against a benchmark of (ideal) market integration and is called 'home-bias'.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Cinzia Alcidi
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper describes four key drivers behind the adjustment difficulties in the periphery of the eurozone: The adjustment will be particularly difficult for Greece and Portugal, as two relatively closed economies with low savings rates. Both of these countries combine high external debt levels with low growth rates, which suggest they are facing a solvency problem. In both countries fiscal adjustment is a necessary condition for overall sustainability, but it not sufficient by itself. A sharp cut in domestic consumption (or an unrealistically large jump in exports) is required to quickly establish external sustainability. An internal devaluation (a cut in nominal wages in the private sector) is unavoidable in the longer run. Without such this adjustment in the private sector, even continuing large-scale provision of official funding will not stave off default. Ireland's problems are different. They stem from the exceptionally large losses in the Irish banks, which were taken on by the national government, leading to an explosion of government debt. However, the Irish sovereign should be solvent because the country has little net foreign debt. Spain faces a similar problem as Ireland, although its foreign debt is somewhat higher but its construction bubble has been less extreme. The government should thus also be solvent, although further losses in the banking system seem unavoidable. Italy seems to have a better starting position on almost on all accounts. But its domestic savings rate has deteriorated substantially over the last decade.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Spain, Ireland
  • Author: David Kleimann
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The first 16 months of the EU's common commercial policy (CCP) in the post-Lisbon period provide indicative insights into how the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers interpret their respective roles under the new legal framework introduced by the Lisbon Treaty. This paper analyses the amendments, the institutional capacities to respond to the reform challenges and the evolving institutional balance applying to Lisbon-era common commercial policy. Against this backdrop, the paper gives an overview of the changing dynamics of EU trade and investment policy in a context of enhanced politicization resulting from the European Parliament's involvement in the decision-making process. Particular importance is given to the question whether enhanced EP involvement in decision-making has the potential to lead to a scenario resembling the policy process in the United States, where congressional responsibility for trade and investment policy has resulted in the capture of the policy agenda by special interest groups and snail-paced policy progress (if any) in recent years. Accordingly, the paper scrutinizes the political preferences that the European Parliament is introducing into current European trade policy debates as well as the framework legislation and trade agreements. Finally, it is argued that parliamentary involvement in making common commercial policy has the potential to narrow the gap between European public political preferences and perceptions, on the one hand, and actual EU trade policies on the other, and to place EU trade and investment policies on a foundation of renewed public political support. In the author's view, however, it is imperative that such an achievement is based on well-informed, responsible, sustainable and clearly communicated policy proposals from the MEPs, who respond to and seek to balance the multiplicity of interests of CCP stakeholders in European civil society and respect the Union's international obligations.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Claudio Vicarelli, Marco Fioramanti
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The recent economic and financial crises have shown the weakness of EU economic governance. A process of strengthening macroeconomic and fiscal surveillance started in the course of 2010; among other proposals, the European Commission suggested a new binding criterion of debt reduction: debt-to-GDP ratio is to be considered sufficiently diminishing if its distance with respect to the 60% of GDP reference value has reduced over the previous three years at a rate of the order of one-twentieth per year.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Diego Valiante
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Investors have a longer memory than the sell‐side of the market. To regain their trust, intensive work needs to be done in the coming years. The new European Commissioner of the Internal Market, Michel Barnier, will play a pivotal role here. In the area of capital markets, he will need the support of a determined European Parliament, a strong commitment from the Council and Member States, as well as active contributions from the CESR/ESMA , other Level 3 Committees/Authorities and national supervisors. We believe that participants in capital markets share the same goal: to make them as efficient and effective as possible. The ability to collect savings and allocate them to investment, and to allow all participants to defray risk, is at the heart of any successful modern economy. This requires effective regulation that not only mandates common standards, but also promotes accountability, responsibility and transparency, while at the same time encouraging innovation. Effective regulation must not impose undue costs, if markets are to remain efficient and effective. However, we should be conscious that the crisis has been so deep that there is a collective need to go back to the basic principles of financial regulation and supervision.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe