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  • 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: Diego Valiante
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Evidence shows that financial integration in the euro area is retrenching at a quicker pace than outside the union. Home bias persists: Governments compete on funding costs by supporting 'their' banks with massive state aids, which distorts the playing field and feeds the risk-aversion loop. This situation intensifies friction in credit markets, thus hampering the transmission of monetary policies and, potentially, economic growth. This paper discusses the theoretical foundations of a banking union in a common currency area and the legal and economic aspects of EU responses. As a result, two remedies are proposed to deal with moral hazard in a common currency area: a common (unlimited) financial backstop to a privately funded recapitalisation/resolution fund and a blanket prohibition on state aids.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Thomas Barnebeck Andersen, Nikolaj Malchow-Møller, Jens Nordvig
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Has inflation targeting (IT) conferred benefits in terms of economic growth on countries that followed this particular monetary policy strategy during the crisis period 2007-12? This paper answers this question in the affirmative. Countries with an IT monetary regime with flexible exchange rates weathered the crisis much better than countries with other monetary regimes, predominantly countries with fixed exchange rates. Part of this difference in growth performance reflects differences in export performance during the initial years of the crisis, which in turn can be explained by real exchange rate depreciations. However, IT seems also to confer other benefits on the countries above and beyond the effects from currency depreciation.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Denmark
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The EMS crisis of the 1990 s illustrated the importance of a lack of confidence in price or exchange rate stability, whereas the present crisis illustrates the importance of a lack of confidence in fiscal sustainability. Theoretically the difference between the two should be minor since, in terms of the real return to an investor, the loss of purchasing power can be the same when inflation is unexpectedly high, or when the nominal value of government debt is cut in a formal default. Experience has shown, however, that expropriation via a formal default is much more disruptive than via inflation.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • 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: Jørgen Mortensen
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper first takes a step backwards with an attempt to situate the recent adoption of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union in the context of discussions on the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) and the 'Maastricht criteria', as fixed in the Maastricht Treaty for membership in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in a longer perspective of the sharing of competences for macroeconomic policy-making within the EU. It then presents the main features of the new so-called 'Fiscal Compact' and its relationship to the SGP and draws some conclusions as regards the importance and relevance of this new step in the process of economic policy coordination. It concludes that the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union does not seem to offer a definitive solution to the problem of finding the appropriate budgetary-monetary policy mix in EMU, which was already well identified in the Delors report in 1989 and regularly emphasised ever since and is now seriously aggravated due to the crisis in the eurozone. Furthermore, implementation of this Treaty may under certain circumstances contribute to an increase in the uncertainties as regards the distribution of the competences between the European Parliament and national parliaments and between the former and the Commission and the Council.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Monetary Policy
  • 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: 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: 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: Bernard Delbecque
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • 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, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: 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: 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, Alessandro Giovannini
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: What would be the cost if Greece were to exit from the eurozone? This much-debated question cannot be answered with a single number. The consequences of Greece's exit would depend decisively on the exact circumstances of events in the country itself as well as the general state of financial markets in the eurozone.
  • Topic: Debt, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • 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: Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper tests the hypothesis that government bond markets in the eurozone are more fragile and more susceptible to self-fulfilling liquidity crises than in stand-alone countries. We find 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 fiscal space variables, and was the result of negative self-fulfilling market sentiments that became very strong since the end of 2010. We argue that this can drive member countries of the eurozone into bad equilibria.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Dirk Schoenmaker
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The eurozone is caught in a 'diabolical loop' in which weak domestic banking systems damage sovereign fiscal positions and conversely, in which risky sovereign positions disproportionately threaten domestic banking stability. A European-level banking system could go a long way towards breaking this unfortunate loop and stabilising the eurozone. This would require a European safety net for cross-border banks.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes two claims that have been made about the Target2 payment system. The first one is that this system has been used to support unsustainable current account deficits of Southern European countries. The second one is that the large accumulation of Target2 claims by the Bundesbank represents an unacceptable risk for Germany if the eurozone were to break up. We argue that these claims are unfounded. They also lead to unnecessary fears in Germany that make a solution of the eurozone crisis more difficult. Ultimately, this fear increases the risk of a break-up of the eurozone. Or to paraphrase Franklin Roosevelt, what Germany should fear most is simply its own fear.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • 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: 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: Daniel Gros, Thomas Mayer
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper proposes a two-step, market-based approach to debt reduction: · Step 1.The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) would offer holders of debt of the countries with an EFSF programme (probably Greece, Ireland and Portugal = GIP) an exchange into EFSF paper at the market price prior to their entry into an EFSF-funded programme. The offer would be valid for 90 days. Banks would be forced in the context of the ongoing stress tests to write down even their banking book and thus would have an incentive to accept the offer. · Step 2. Once the EFSF had acquired most of the GIP debt, it would assess debt sustainability country by country. a) If the market price discount at which it acquired the bonds is enough to ensure sustainability, the EFSF will write down the nominal value of its claims to this amount, provided the country agrees to additional adjustment efforts (and, in some cases, asset sales). b) If under a central scenario this discount is not enough to ensure sustainability, the EFSF might agree on a lower interest rate, but with GDP warrants to participate in the upside.
  • Topic: Debt, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: 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: Daniel Gros, Felix Roth
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyses public support for the euro in Germany. Drawing from the results of regular Eurobarometer surveys, it finds that the ongoing financial and sovereign debt crisis has reduced support for the euro among German citizens, but not dramatically so – at least not yet. In the 1990s, the German public was sceptical towards the euro. But since the introduction of euro banknotes and coins, a clear majority of citizens supports the euro – despite the financial and sovereign debt crisis. Moreover, on average, support for the euro is at a similar level in Germany as it is elsewhere in the euro area.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • 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: 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: Caterina Giannetti, Nicola Jentzsch, Giancarlo Spagnolo
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Asymmetries can severely limit the cross-border border expansion of banks, if entering banks can only obtain incomplete information about potential new clients. Such asymmetries are reduced by credit registers, which distribute financial data on bank clients. Asymmetrically distributed information and adversely selected pools of borrowers constitute severe barriers for foreign banks when they enter new markets. In many instances, these problems force banks to either form 'alliances with incumbents' or simply enter through mergers and acquisitions (M). Yet such entry modes do not automatically lead to intensified competition as they may leave the number of competitors unchanged. Thus, institutions that reduce information asymmetries in credit markets (thereby encouraging entry through branches) may be very important if the objective is strengthening competition in addition to market integration. Recently, these institutions – credit registers – have received greater attention among academics and policy-makers in Europe, although there is still a remarkable lack of understanding of their empirical impact on banking.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: 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: 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: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The European asset management industry is feeling squeezed from all sides, as a result of growing prudential, product and conduct regulation. A new Directive, UCITS IV, has only just been enacted, and already new challenges are emerging in the regulation of hedge and venture capital funds, the review of the regulatory regime for depositaries (or financial custodians) and amendments to the MiFID Directive.2 In addition, a new European supervisory framework is in the making, which implies much stricter controls on enforcement. These changes are taking place in the context of one of the largest declines suffered by the industry in the last two decades, from which many fund managers have not yet recovered. The era of light regulation is thus definitely over.
  • Topic: Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Credit rating agencies (CRAs) continue to find themselves in the eye of the storm. Despite having singled out the industry early on in the financial crisis as needing more regulation, policy-makers seem not to be reassured by the measures that have been adopted in the meantime, and want to go further. Faced with a rapid downgrading in ratings in the context of the sovereign debt crisis, European Commissioner Michel Barnier raised the possibility last May of creating a new EU-level rating agency that would specialise in sovereign debt.
  • Topic: Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Felix Roth
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyses whether the financial crisis has affected citizens' confidence in the free market economy and whether it has triggered citizens' demand for a free market economy with stronger state regulations. Using panel data, the paper confirms that citizens' confidence levels in the free market economy have decreased in most of the largest economies and demand for a free market economy with stronger state regulation has increased on both sides of the Atlantic. After analysing the determinants for citizens' confidence in the free market economy and demand for a free market economy with stronger state regulation before and after the financial crisis, the author concludes that citizens' net confidence loss in the free market economy seems to have been driven by rising unemployment rates, and citizens' demand for stronger state regulation seems to have been driven by the real economic downturn in GDP growth.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis, 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: Felix Roth, Anna-Elisabeth Thum
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Using new international comparable data on intangible capital investment by business within a panel analysis from 1995-2005 in an EU-15 country sample, we detect a positive and significant relationship between intangible capital investment by business and labour productivity growth. This relationship is cross-sectional in nature and proves to be robust to a range of alterations. Our empirical analysis confirms previous findings that the inclusion of business intangible capital investment into the asset boundary of the national accounting framework increases the rate of change of output per worker more rapidly. In addition, intangible capital is able to explain a significant portion of the unexplained international variance in labour productivity growth and when incorporating business intangibles, capital deepening becomes an even more significant source of growth. The relationship is slightly stronger in the time period 1995-2000 and seems to be driven by the coordinated countries within the EU-15.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Selen Sarisoy Guerin
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Several policy-relevant issues regarding the EU's bilateral investment treaties (BITS) are addressed in this paper. First and foremost, we explore the question of whether EU's BITs have a significantly positive impact on outflows or not. Second, we ask the question which member states and which BIT partners have had a significant experience after the implementation of the BIT. In our sample we find that both OECD BITs and EU BITs have a statistically significant and positive impact on FDI outflows. This result is robust to the inclusion of variables such as privatisation proceeds that control for the level of economic reform, the level of trade linkages, the level of democratic freedom and a measure of risk of expropriation among other standard controls. We control for endogeneity in our estimations by using the fixed-effects estimator as our preferred estimator on a large panel dataset. We also test the strict exogeneity of our results by using a method suggested by Baier and Bergstrand (2007) and we find no feedback effect in our sample.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Felix Roth
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Trust in the ECB, as measured by the standard Eurobarometer (and other) surveys has fallen to an unprecedented low – especially in the larger euro area countries. The authors find that up to the start of the recession in 2008, trust in the ECB was little affected by business cycle variables such as growth and inflation. This changed radically with the recession, with trust in the ECB becoming correlated quite closely with growth. However, even the recovery of growth in 2009 was not sufficient to restore trust in the ECB to previous levels. This finding implies that European citizens seem to have placed a heavy share of the blame on the European Central Bank for the real economic downturn caused by the financial crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe