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  • 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, Richard Youngs, Michael Emerson, Christian Egenhofer, Nathalie Tocci, Giovanni Grevi, Jean-Pierre Cassarino
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Conceptually, Global Matrix advances in a systematic and structured inter-disciplinary (matrix) framework a research agenda for examining the stance of major world actors on the key policy dimensions to world politics (political ideologies, economics, migration, climate change, security and world view); drawing out evidence of cross-cutting linkages (between sectors and among major actors); and evaluating the evolution and adequacy of existing multilateral institutions in relation to the emerging multi-polarity, and formulating recommendations.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Economics, Globalization, International Cooperation, International Organization, Governance
  • Political Geography: Japan, South Africa, Brazil, Korea
  • Author: Giacomo Luciani
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The paper discusses the link between security of oil supplies and the functioning of international oil markets. It is argued that wide and frequent variations in price are in themselves a source of insecurity for individual consumers and national economies alike. Furthermore, the impossibility of predicting future prices discourages investment and increases the fragility of the system. The paper puts forward several policy proposals to reduce excessive price fluctuations and improve security of supply at reliable prices.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Markets, Oil
  • Political Geography: North America
  • Author: Dirk Rübbelke, Stefan Vögele
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Climate change tends to negatively affect the power sector, inter alia, by causing cooling problems in power plants and impairing the water supply required for hydro-power generation. In future, when global warming is expected to increase, autonomous adaptation to climate change via international electricity markets inducing reallocations of power generation may not be sufficient to prevent supply disruptions. Furthermore, the consequent changes of supply patterns and electricity prices might cause an undesirable redistribution of wealth both between individual power suppliers and between suppliers and consumers. This study ascertains changes in European power supply patterns and electricity prices caused by ongoing global warming as well as related redistribution of wealth for different climate change scenarios. Our results confirm that autonomous adaptation in the power sector should be complemented by planned public adaptation in order to preserve energy security and to prevent undesired distributional effects.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Markets
  • 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: Felix Roth, Felicitas Nowak-Lehmann D., Thomas Otter
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The financial crisis has affected trust in national and European governmental institutions in different ways. This paper analyses the determinants of trust in the national and European institutions over the last decade and comes to the conclusion that inflation reduces citizens' trust only when the economy runs smoothly. In times of crisis, citizens do not worry about inflation but rather about jobs and the effects of a recession. Declining trust in national governments is related to an increase in unemployment in the EU-15 in all time periods, whereas trust in the European Commission and the European Parliament seems to be strongly associated with the situation in the real economy (unemployment and growth of GDP per capita) only in times of crisis. Yet in the EU-27, falling levels of trust in the national and European governmental institutions during times of crisis seem to be primarily related to an increase in government debt. In an EU-15 country sample, this negative relationship appears to be driven by countries that owe a larger share of their increase in government debt to aiding/bailing out their financial sector and the implementation of significant austerity measures.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Rouzbeh Parsi
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In the past two years the Iranian domestic political scene has undergone a major upheaval where many established norms and institutional frame-works have been abandoned or seriously weakened. A new baseline and sense of normalcy has yet to be established.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Politics, Insurgency, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Miroslav Beblavý
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In this paper, we examine two questions related to the sustainability of the major, neoliberal, economic and social reforms in the new EU member states, namely the flat income tax and private pension pillars. First, we look at the relationship between the political consensus/controversy at the time major policy reforms were passed and the future sustainability of these reforms after a change of government. Second, we explore what we call a paradox of reverse sustainability, whereby the flat income tax has been more politically resilient during the global financial and economic crisis than private pensions, even though ex ante expectations and the literature would lead us to expect the opposite.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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