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  • Author: Daniel Gros, Cinzia Alcidi
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Spain faces high unemployment and slow growth. This paper focuses on an important source of those problems, namely its housing market. While some adjustment has occurred since Spain's housing bubble burst in 2008, the authors find that house prices and construction need to decrease more to slow Spain's unsustainable accumulation of foreign debt.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain
  • Author: Rym Ayadi, Emrah Arbak, Willem Pieter De Groen
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Adopted by the European Commission in July 2011, the proposed Capital Requirements Directive and Regulation (CRD IV-CRR) translate into EU law the Basel III standards adopted by the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision (BCBS). Among other things, the proposal increases the quality and quantity of the minimum capital; introduces new rules on liquidity, leverage ratios, counter-cyclical buffers and systemically important financial institutions; and amends the definitions of counterparty credit risk and rules for the banking book. The rules complement the earlier amendments that strengthened the capital and disclosure requirements for the trading book and resecuritization instruments as well as requirements to ensure that remuneration policies do not lead to excessive risk-taking.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Once again the European Council will meet in an emergency session at the end of June, with the eurozone economy in recession and actually plummeting in its Southern periphery. Further doubts are also growing on the sustainability of sovereign debts due to the vicious spiral of deteriorating bank balance sheets, ballooning potential liabilities from banking rescues and widening spreads on government borrowings. The sovereign debt crisis in the periphery has now turned into a fully fledged banking crisis that threatens to spread from Greece to Spain and tomorrow, who knows, to Italy, France and even Germany itself.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, France, Germany, Spain, Italy
  • Author: Hrant Kostanyan, Magdalena Nasieniak
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The EU has consistently stressed the primacy of democracy assistance in its pronouncements on EU external policy, but its actions have noticeably lagged behind. At the heart of the problem are the absence of available appropriate instruments, incoherent external action and convoluted decision-making procedures that require the mobilisation of unanimity and the political backing of all 27 EU member states. The Arab Spring once again highlighted the EU's inability to react swiftly and decisively to the extraordinary events unfolding in its neighbourhood.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Europe, Arabia
  • 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: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: As the euro crisis continues and unemployment climbs to new heights, the clamour calling for Europe to 'do something' is getting louder. But the real question is: can Europe, or rather the EU, do 'something' that would actually have a real impact on unemployment? In other words, does a European plan or employment strategy make sense?
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: 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
  • 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: 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