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  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: For years, the eurozone has been perceived as a disaster area, with discussions of the monetary union’s future often centred on a possible breakup. When the British voted to leave the European Union last year, they were driven partly by the perception of the eurozone as a dysfunctional and possibly unsalvageable project. Yet, lately, the eurozone has become the darling of financial markets – and for good reason. The discovery of the eurozone’s latent strength was long overdue. Indeed, the eurozone has been recovering from the crisis of 2011-12 for several years. On a per capita basis, its economic growth now outpaces that of the United States. The unemployment rate is also declining – more slowly than in the US, to be sure, but that partly reflects a divergence in labour-force participation trends.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • 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: Ansgar Belke, Anne Oeking, Ralph Setzer
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The significant gains in export market shares made in a number of vulnerable euro-area crisis countries have not been accompanied by an appropriate improvement in price competitiveness. This paper argues that, under certain conditions, firms consider export activity as a substitute for serving domestic demand. The strength of the link between domestic demand and exports is dependent on capacity constraints. Our econometric model for six euro-area countries suggests domestic demand pressure and capacity-constraint restrictions as additional variables of a properly specified export equation. As an innovation to the literature, we assess the empirical significance through the logistic and the exponential variant of the non-linear smooth transition regression model. We find that domestic demand developments are relevant for the short-run dynamics of exports in particular during more extreme stages of the business cycle. A strong substitutive relationship between domestic and foreign sales can most clearly be found for Spain, Portugal and Italy, providing evidence of the importance of sunk costs and hysteresis in international trade.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Since the announcement of the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) programme by Mario Draghi, President of the ECB, in 2012, the government bond spreads began a strong decline. This paper finds that most of this decline is due to the positive market sentiments that the OMT programme has triggered and is not related to underlying fundamentals, such as the debt-to-GDP ratios or the external debt position that have continued to increase in most countries. The authors even argue that the market's euphoria may have gone too far in taking into account the same market fundamentals. They conclude with some thoughts about the future governance of the OMT programme.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ana-Maria Fuertes, Elena Kalotychou, Orkun Saka
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Paul De Grauwe ' s fragility hypothesis states that member countries of a monetary union such as the eurozone are highly vulnerable to a self – fulfilling mechanism by which the efforts of investors to avoid losses from default can end up triggering the very default they fear. The authors test this hypothesis by applying an eclectic methodology to a time window around Mario Draghi ' s " whatever it takes " (to keep the eurozone on firm footing) pledge on 26 July 2012 . This pledge was soon followed by the announcement of the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) program me (the prospective and conditional purchase by the European Central Bank of sovereign bonds of eurozone countries having difficulty issuing debt) . The principal components of eurozone credit default swap spreads validate this choice of time frame . An event study reveals significant pre – announcement contagion emanating from Spain to Italy, Belgium, France and Austria. Furthermore, time – series regression confirms frequent clusters of large shocks affecting the credit default swap spreads of the four eurozone countries but solely during the pre – announcement period. The findings of this report support the fragility hypothesis for the eurozone and endorse the Outright Monetary Transactions programme.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Belgium, Italy
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the trade policy landscape of the EU and the wider Europe, with a focus on issues arising from the signature on 27 June 2014 of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) between the EU and three East European countries (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), and actual or prospective issues relating to the customs union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan (BRK), and the Eurasian Economic Union whose founding treaty was signed on 29 May 2014. While the contrived collision between these projects has tragically induced Russia to break all the established international security norms by waging war against Ukraine, the present paper deals essentially with trade policy issues. The huge expansion of intercontinental free trade area negotiations currently underway, in which the EU is an active participant alongside much of the Americas and Asia, stands in contrast with Russia's choice to restrict itself to the Eurasian Economic Union, which is only a marginal extension of its own economy. Alone among the major economies in the world, Russia does not seek to integrate economically with any major economic bloc, which should be a matter of serious concern for Moscow. Within the wider Europe, the EU's DCFTAs with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are a major new development, but Russia now threatens trade sanctions against Ukraine in particular, the economic case for which seems unfounded and whose unilateral application would also impair the customs union. The Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan customs union itself poses several issues of compatibility with the rules of the WTO, which in turn are viewed by the EU as an impediment to discussing possible free trade scenarios with the customs union, although currently there are far more fundamental political impediments to any consideration of such ideas. Nonetheless this paper looks at various long-term scenarios, if only as a reminder that there could be much better alternatives to the present context of conflict around Ukraine.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Europe, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Asia, Georgia
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the trade policy landscape of the EU and the wider Europe, with a focus on issues arising from the signature on 27 June 2014 of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) between the EU and three East European countries (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), and actual or prospective issues relating to the customs union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan (BRK), and the Eurasian Economic Union whose founding treaty was signed on 29 May 2014. While the contrived collision between these projects has tragically induced Russia to break all the established international security norms by waging war against Ukraine , the present paper deals essentially with trade policy issues . The huge expansion of intercontinental free trade area negotiation s currently underway, in which the EU is an active participant alongside much of the Americas and Asia, stands in contrast with Russia's choice to restrict itself to the Eurasian Economic Union, which is only a marginal extension of its own economy. Alone among the major economies in the world, Russia does not seek to integrate economically with any major economic bloc, which should be a matter of serious concern for Moscow. Within the wider Europe, the EU's DCFTAs with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are a major new development, but Russia now threatens trade sanctions against Ukraine in particular, the economic case for which seems unfounded and whose unilateral application would also impair the customs union. The Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan customs union itself poses several issues of compatibility with the rules of the WTO, which in turn are viewed by the EU as an impediment to discussing possible free trade scenarios with the customs union, although currently there are far more fundamental political impediments to any consideration of such ideas. Nonetheless this paper looks at various long-term scenarios, if only as a reminder that there could be much better alternatives to the present context of conflict around Ukraine.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Rym Ayadi, Willem Pieter De Groen
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Arab Spring, which took root in Tunisia and Egypt in the beginning of 2011 and gradually spread to other countries in the southern Mediterranean, highlighted the importance of private-sector development, job creation, improved governance and a more equitable distribution of economic opportunities. The developments led to domestic and international demands on the governments in the region to implement the reforms needed to enhance business and investment conditions, modernise their economies and support the development of enterprises.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Social Movement, Reform
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia
  • 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: 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: Stefano Micossi, Fabrizia Peirce
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The policy debate about how best to restore growth in the flagging eurozone economy has been plagued by demands from some highly indebted member countries that the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) be loosened to leave greater room to support the economy with budgetary instruments. These demands have been met with an instant rebuff from the Commission and other financially solid members who argue that loosening the Pact would do little to restore sound growth. This question has also hindered the broader discussion on the need for and content of a renewed growth strategy for the eurozone and the European Union, no least by fuelling fresh mistrust among their member states.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Willem Pieter De Groen
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Comprehensive Assessment conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB) representsa considerable step forward in enhancing transparency ineuro-area banks' balance sheets. The most notable progress since the previous European stress test has been the hamonisation of the definition of non-performing loans and other concepts as well as uncovering hidden losses, which resulted in a €34 billion aggregate capital-chargenet of tax. Despite this tightening,most banks were able to meet the 5.5% common equity tier 1 (CET1) threshold applied in the test, whichsuggests that the large majority of the euro-area banks have improvedtheir financial position sufficiently to no longer constrainthem in financing the economy.Our own estimation based on the detailed results, however,provide a more nuanced picture, with a large numberof the banks still highly leveraged and in many cases unable to meet the regulatory capital requirementsthat will be introduced in the coming years underthe adverse stress test scenario.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Global Recession
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Denis Cenusa, Tamara Kovziridse, Veronika Movchan
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: While EU and US sanctions against Russia over its aggression in Ukraine, and Russia's counter-sanctions, are much discussed due to their evident political significance, less attention has been given to Russia's punitive sanctions against the three Eastern European states – Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia – that have signed with the EU Association Agreements (AA), which include Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) provisions. This paper therefore documents these trade policy restrictions and embargoes imposed by Russia, and provides some first indications of their impact. The immediate impact on trade flows, especially for agri-food products, has been substantial, albeit with some leakage through Belarus. The main instrument for the Russian measures has been allegations of non-conformity with Russian technical standards, although the correlation of these allegations with movements in Russia's geopolitical postures makes it obvious that the Russian technical agencies are following political guidelines dressed up as scientific evidence. These measures also push the three states into diversifying their trade marketing efforts in favour of the EU and other world markets, with Georgia already having taken significant steps in this direction, since in its case the Russian sanctions date back to 2006. In the case of Ukraine, Russia's threat to cancel CIS free trade preferences infiltrated trilateral talks between the EU, Ukraine and Russia, leading on 12 September to their proposed postponement until the end of 2015 of the 'provisional' implementation of a large part of the AA/DCFTA. This was immediately followed on 16 September by ratification of the AA/DCFTA by both the Rada in Kyiv and the European Parliament, which will lead to its full and definitive entry into force when the 28 EU member states have also ratified it. However Putin followed the day after with a letter to Poroshenko making an abusive interpretation of the 12 September understanding.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Power Politics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia
  • Author: Giovanni Grevi
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The international system is changing fast and both the European Union and Brazil will need to adapt. This paper argues that such a process of adjustment may bring the two closer together, even if their starting points differ considerably. Europe looks at the ongoing redistribution of power as a challenge, Brazil as an opportunity. Europe is coping with the detrimental impact of the economic crisis on its international profile; Brazil is enhancing its influence in its region and beyond. Their normative outlook is broadly compatible; their political priorities and behaviour in multilateral frameworks often differ, from trade to development and security issues. Despite the crisis, however, there are signals of renewed engagement by the EU on the international stage, with a focus on its troubled neighbourhood and partnerships with the US and large emerging actors such as Brazil. The latter is charting an original course in international affairs as a rising democratic power from the traditional South with no geopolitical opponents and a commitment to multilateralism. In testing the limits of its international influence, Brazil will need dependable partners and variable coalitions that go well beyond the BRICS format, which is not necessarily sustainable. This contribution suggests that the strategic partnership between the EU and Brazil may grow stronger not only as a platform to deepen economic ties and sustain growth, but also as a tool to foster cooperation in political and security affairs including crisis management, preventive diplomacy and human rights.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Mikkel Barslund, Thomas Barnebeck Andersen, Casper Worm Hansen, Thomas Harr, Peter Sandholt Jensen
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This Working Document provides an estimate of China's impact on the growth rate of resource-rich countries since its WTO accession in December 2001. The authors' empirical approach follows the logic of the differences-in-differences estimator. In addition to temporal variation arising from the WTO accession, which they argue was exogenous to other countries' growth trajectories, the authors exploit spatial variation arising from differences in natural resource wealth. In this way they can compare changes in economic growth in the pre- and post-accession periods between countries that benefited from the surge in demand for industrial commodities brought about by China's WTO accession and countries that were less able to do so. They find that that roughly one-tenth of the average annual post-accession growth in resource-rich countries was due to China's increased appetite for commodities. The authors use this finding to inform the debate about what will happen to economic growth in resource-rich countries as China rebalances and its demand for commodities weakens.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China
  • 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: Hrant Kostanyan, Bruno Vandecasteele
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Besides the Eastern Partnership's (EaP) bilateral and multilateral framework and the Civil Society Forum, the European Union (EU) engages with the EaP countries – Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan – through multilateral parliamentary cooperation, namely within the EuroNest Parliamentary Assembly (EuroNest PA).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Armenia, Belarus
  • 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: 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: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: It is still an unresolved question whether a process for financial services regulatory cooperation and convergence will be included in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).From a n end-user's perspective, it could be argued that its inclusion could be an opportunity not only as regards product choice, but also to improve the consumer or investor protection regulatory environment on both sides of the Atlantic. The inclusion would also be in line with the assessments made by both the EU and the US that the G-20 agenda has been incorporated in local legislation and that both regimes are thus 'equivalent'.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, 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: 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: 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: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: For most of the time since the early 1950s, national savings in Germany have tended to exceed national investment, resulting in a current account surplus. Most of these excess savings have been intermediated by the domestic banking system, which has had difficulties investing these German surpluses abroad given that it is prohibited by law from taking any exchange rate risk. This tended to keep the surplus within limits most of the time (less than 1- 2% of GDP). With the advent of the euro, however, German surpluses could become much larger and seem now to have become structurally engrained at 6% of GDP, or over one-quarter of savings. Since the start of the euro crisis, German private savers have repatriated their investments – effectively unloading their exposure onto the public sector as German banks have deposited hundreds of billions of euro at the Bundesbank. These funds are being lent by the ECB to banks in the euro area periphery (at 75 bps) – ensuring effectively a negative real return.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Sovereign Wealth Funds
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: For the present UK government, full accession to the Schengen area, a passport- free travel area covering most of Europe, is a red line that it will not cross. Ireland shares a common travel area and land border with the UK and is also bound by this decision. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the UK, along with Ireland, is suffering serious economic and reputational costs as a result of its separate visa and border management policies.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Europe, Ireland
  • 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: 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
  • 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: Ilaria Maselli
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: 'Flexicurity' might be defined as a mix of flexible contractual arrangements, income support measures, active labour market policies and lifelong learning. The successful shift in approach of the Danish and Dutch labour markets from passive to active labour market policies, and to flexicurity, has attracted considerable attention among academics and policy-makers. The objective of this Working Document is to contribute to the debate with the creation of a composite indicator to measure flexicurity, based on the definition provided in the European Commission's Communication on Flexicurity (COM(2007)359). Our indicator confirms that preferences in the balance of flexibility and security are highly heterogeneous among countries; a finding that supports the 'pathway' approach as proposed by the European Commission. A second important conclusion is that the idea of flexibility being in favour of employers and security being in favour of employees needs to be overcome. Flexicurity is 'both for both', although it does not apply uniformly to all age groups but is two and three times greater for older and younger workers respectively.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues
  • 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
  • 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: 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: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Meeting Europe's 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth is even more of a challenge for the financial sector than for the EU as a whole. Smart, sustainable and inclusive growth is just the opposite of what the financial sector stood for, and how it continues to be perceived by the public. The huge regulatory agenda that is on the table should tame the financial sector, but whether it will help it to meet the Europe 2020 objectives is an open question (see European Commission, 2010a).
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Evgeny Vinokurov
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: There is at present an overlapping but inadequately coordinated combination of strategic trans-continental transport corridors or axes stretching across the Eurasian landmass, centred on or around Central Asia. There are three such initiatives - from the EU, China and the Asian Development Bank, and the Eurasian Economic Community. This paper reviews these several strategic transport maps, and makes proposals for their coordination and rationalisation. So far the EU Central Asia strategy has not paid much attention to these questions. However the EU's own initiatives (the Pan-European Axes and the TRACECA programme) are in need of updating and revision to take into account major investments being made by other parties. In particular the case is made for a 'Central Eurasian Corridor' for rail and road that would reach from Central Europe across Ukraine and Southern Russia into West Kazakhstan, and thence to the East Kazakh border with China, thus joining up with and completing the West China-West Europe corridor promoted by the Asian Development Bank. There should also be a North-South corridor that would cross over this Central Eurasian Corridor in West Kazakhstan and lead south to the Middle East and South Asia. These adaptations of existing plans could become an exemplary case of cooperation between Central Asia and all the major economic powers of the Eurasian landmass.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Central Asia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan