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  • Author: Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper finds evidence that a significant part of the surge in the spreads of the PIGS countries (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) in the eurozone during 2010-11 was disconnected from underlying increases in the debt-to-GDP ratios, and was the result of negative market sentiments that became very strong since the end of 2010.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland
  • 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: Daniel Gros, Thomas Mayer
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that the new permanent European rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), should be provided with a liquidity backstop by having it registered as a bank – and be treated as such by the European Central Bank. If the crisis were to become acute again, the ESM would stand ready to intervene in secondary markets, potentially with almost unlimited amounts of funding. Access to central bank financing will be crucial in a future crisis, because in such a crisis risk aversion is likely to be extreme, and even the ESM might not be able to raise at very short notice the huge sums that might be required to prevent a breakdown of the financial system. Hundreds of billions of euro might be needed just to top up the programmes for Greece, Ireland and Portugal – and Spain and Italy may require more than a thousand billion euro. Sums of this order of magnitude cannot be raised quickly by a new institution. Simply increasing the headline size of the ESM might thus be of little use.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland
  • 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: 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: 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: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper describes the key economic variables and mechanisms that will determine the adjustment process in those euro area countries now under financial market pressure. (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy = GIPSY) The key finding is that the adjustment will be particularly difficult for Greece (and Portugal) because these are two relatively closed economies with low savings rates. Both of these countries are facing a solvency problem because they combine high debt levels with low growth and high interest rates. Fiscal and external adjustment is thus required for sustainability, not just to satisfy the Stability Pact. By contrast, Ireland and Spain face more of a liquidity than a solvency problem. Italy seems to have a much better starting position on all accounts. Fiscal adjustment alone will not be sufficient to ensure sustainability. Without significant reductions in labour costs, these economies will face years of stagnation at best. Especially in the case of Greece, it is imperative that the cuts in public sector wages are transmitted to the entire economy in order to restore competitiveness, and thus ensure that export growth can become a vital safety valve. Without an adjustment of wages in the private sector, the adjustment will become so difficult that failure cannot be excluded.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland
  • 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: Namkee Ahn
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: We document in this paper the financial consequences of widowhood using both cross-section and panel data from the European Community Household Panel. The research reveals that there are large differences across countries. For example, widowed persons in Greece and Portugal have the lowest income – less than a half that of those widowed in Austria. Cross-country differences decrease somewhat if we consider household income net of housing costs, owing to the higher share of home ownership in low-income countries. Further, the income reduction upon widowhood is generally larger for widows than it is for widowers. The difference in income between the genders is largest in Denmark, Spain, Austria and Finland, where widower s enjoy an income that is more than 30% higher that of widows. The main culprit of the differences in income between widows and widowers lies in pension regulations. As today's elderly women an d those approaching old age spent their working years in an era where women worked at home, raised children and did not participate in the labour market, many depend mostly on survivorship pensions as their main source of income. Yet in most countries this kind of pension tends to be much lower than the applicable old-age pension, owing to the prevailing pension laws. Consequently, the financial situation of widows is unlikely to improve in the medium term unless pension regulations change.
  • Topic: International Relations, Demographics, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Greece, Denmark, Spain