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  • Author: Mikkel Barslund, Matthias Busse
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The British economy has always been able to rely on a continuous inflow of high-skilled workers from the rest of the EU and the UK is currently home to over three million EU citizens and. As a result of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, however, the image of the UK in the eyes of foreign workers may have become tarnished. By using LinkedIn data, the authors of this study analyse the movements of IT professionals between the EU and the UK and thereby illustrate what is at stake for the UK, as exemplified by this particular ‘shortage sector’. LinkedIn data show that on an annual basis the UK gains over 6,000 IT experts more than it loses to the EU. Moreover, these mobile IT professionals tend to be much more qualified than domestic IT experts are. This reliance on the EU for IT recruitment – one in ten new hires comes from the EU – suggests that even if the UK is not aiming to restrict high-skilled immigration, curbing overall immigration could have unintended negative consequences for its capability to attract talented EU nationals in the future. The UK government should perhaps bear this in mind during negotiations with the EU27.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Exiting from unconventional monetary policies is now a key issue for central banks, and especially for the US Federal Reserve. This paper argues that the Fed already began this exit some time ago, and that the relevant part of its balance sheet has already shrunk by about one-quarter of GDP. Pursuing the current policy of reinvesting would lead to a full exit within ten years.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This was meant to be a Brexit election to strengthen the Prime Minister’s hand. The result was precisely the opposite. Her management of the Brexit process has become a long sequence of own goals: quit the customs union and single market; watch EU agencies relocate to the continent, including importantly for medicines and banking; banking jobs begin to relocate; science, research and academia see their interests harmed; the budget settlement prospect becomes a big new negative; the Irish border question threatens; immigration from the EU is already declining and various sectors from fruit-picking to the national health service are at risk. Moreover, the UK’s economic growth has slowed down and is now forecast to drop to 1% in 2018; the pound has lost 13% since the referendum; inflation is up; and consumer spending is down. The only solace available to Mrs May is that the Scots seem to be having second thoughts about independence. But this election was her biggest own goal yet. The credibility of her Brexit negotiation method is shattered. She thought the British people could be satisfied with slogans about “Brexit means Brexit”, or “getting the best deal for Britain”, and the now notorious “no deal is better than a bad deal”. Above all there was the failure to define and communicate a credible negotiation strategy. The Brexit White Paper of February 2017 contained serious contradictions, insisting that the UK should get ‘seamless’ market access while still leaving the customs union and the single market.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Political stability, Europe Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Britain
  • Author: Elspeth Guild
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The task of finding a solution to the legal status of non-British EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit is exercising the best minds in the European Union at the moment. As the European Council (Art. 50) guidelines for Brexit negotiations rightly underline, “The United Kingdom's decision to leave the Union creates significant uncertainties that have the potential to cause disruption,…Citizens who have built their lives on the basis of rights flowing from the British membership of the EU face the prospect of losing those rights”. These guidelines also place special emphasis on the priority to ensure reciprocal guarantees in safeguarding the rights derived from EU law of EU and UK citizens and their families affected by Brexit, effective from the date of withdrawal. The latest idea floating in the media is that the UK should naturalise the non-British EU nationals living there (possibly numbering 3 million) as British citizens. This solution has been commonly called “giving them all passports”, but for an individual to qualify for a passport, s/he must hold the nationality of the state of issuance. Is this a serious policy option? It is certainly original and has the benefit of shifting the burden of dealing with this question back onto the UK – enlarge your population and keep good relations with your neighbours. But there are at least four challenging questions that deserve careful consideration.
  • Topic: Citizenship, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: John Bruton
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper presents the testimony delivered by John Bruton, former Prime Minister of Ireland, on 27 April 2017, before the Seanad Special Committee on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. The Special Committee was established by the Seanad on February 27th to consider the implications of Brexit for Ireland. Mr Bruton began his testimony by commending the committee for its work and also the government for ensuring, through effective diplomacy, that the particular problems of Ireland have been publicly recognised in the negotiating positions of both the EU 27 and the UK.
  • Topic: Brexit
  • Political Geography: Ireland
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: A team of economists at CEPS was commissioned by the Policy Department on Economic and Scientific Policies for the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection to assess the likely economic impact of Brexit on EU27, together with some scenarios for the terms of the UK’s secession. For the EU 27, the losses were found to be virtually insignificant, and hardly noticeable in the aggregate. For the UK, however, the losses could be highly significant, with various estimates running up to ten times greater as a share of GDP. Impacts on some member states – in particular Ireland – and some sectors in the EU27 could be more pronounced than the average for the EU27. Michael Emerson is Associate Senior Research Fellow, Matthias Busse is Researcher, Mattia Di Salvo is Research Assistant, Daniel Gros is Director and Jacques Pelkmans is Senior Research Fellow – all at CEPS.
  • Topic: Economics, Brexit, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Milan Elkerbout
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement represents a setback for global climate action. But the damage will be felt more in political and diplomatic terms than in terms of climate policy or reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which depend at least in the near term on domestic climate policies. The election of Donald Trump and the strong Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress that accompanied his election immediately dispelled any hope that the US would implement or maintain ambitious climate policies. Indeed, in the first months of his Presidency, Trump signed an executive order to review (and thus likely roll back) President Obama’s landmark climate policy – the Clean Power Plan. The latter initiative aimed to reduce power-sector emissions by 32% by 2030 through federal legislation. Other US climate policies, such as vehicle standards and methane regulations, are also destined for the axe. Taken collectively, these measures will make it very difficult for the country to meet its Paris pledge of reducing GHG emissions by 26-28% by 2025 compared to 2005, even if another personality occupies the White House by 2021. 1 Improving fundamentals for renewable energy may still allow the US to reach its 2020 target of a 17% reduction in emissions compared to 2005. But the difference between this target and the formal pledge made by the US in Paris is roughly equal to the annual emissions of the entire transport sector in the EU.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • 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: Mikkel Barslund
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: CEPS researchers Mikkel Barslund, Mehtap Akgüç, Nadzeya Laurentsyeva and Lars Ludolph are among the contributors to the 2017 MEDAM Assessment Report on Asylum and Migration Policies in Europe, produced by the Mercator Dialogue on Asylum and Migration (MEDAM). The report explores ways in which responsibility for refugees can be fairly distributed – globally and within the EU – and how we can curb irregular migration while expanding legal immigration to the benefit of all concerned. CEPS is one of three research institutes working on this multi-year project, alongside the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and the Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute. For more information on the MEDAM project, which is funded by Stiftung Mercator
  • Topic: Migration, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mikkel Barslund, Lars Ludolph
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that none of the secular trends that have driven down real interest rates over the past two decades is likely to reverse in the near future. Thus, real rates can be expected to remain low and government debt-servicing costs to decrease further over the coming years. Based on these findings, the authors calculate direct gains accruing to the Belgian government from lower net debt interest payments. The savings on interest payments are then contrasted with the projected future increases in age-related expenditures on pensions, education and long-term care. The findings indicate that, if savings on interest payments are channelled to cover the increases in age-related expenditures, they will fully offset financing needs in these areas until 2030. The calculations are robust to a moderate increase in interest rates.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Belgium
  • Author: Guillaume Van der Loo
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In an advisory referendum held in the Netherlands on April 6th, over 61% of the voters rejected the ratification of the Association Agreement (AA) between the EU and Ukraine. If the Dutch government were to act on the outcome of the referendum, which had a low turnout of 32%, an unprecedented situation would emerge in which an EU international agreement cannot enter into force because a member state is not in a position to ratify it. Although the political character of this referendum and the Dutch Advisory Referendum Act (DRA) and the geopolitical implications of the AA itself have already been the subject of heated discussions in the Netherlands and beyond, the legal implications of this referendum remain unclear.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Netherlands, European Union
  • Author: Matthias Busse, Mikkel Barslund, Joscha Schwarzwälder
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The right of free movement of persons is a cornerstone of the European Union and, according to a Eurobarometer survey, one of the most popular accomplishments of the EU. Since its establishment this right has been steadily built upon and expanded, in particular with respect to mobile EU workers. Barriers to (labour) mobility have been substantially reduced as part of creating the single market and also as a means to achieve the EU2020 goals of smart and inclusive growth. And yet the prevailing view in academic circles and among policy-makers is that intra-EU labour mobility is too low; too low to support the single labour market as anything but a notion and too low to play anything other than a modest role in helping to rebalance the eurozone after the crisis.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Willem Pieter De Groen
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The recent crises have shown that the eurozone countries' government debt is not immune to default. Applying a large-exposure requirement also to eurozone government debt would be a logical measure towards breaking the bank-government doom loop, given the low probability and high loss-given government default. But what would be the impact of the application of the large-exposure requirement on the banking sector as well as on government funding? This CEPS Policy Brief presents the results of a simulation exercise performed for 109 systemic banks in the eurozone, showing that their eurozone government debt portfolios would have to decrease by 3.2% or €63 billion, if a 50% of own-funds cap would be applied on large exposures. The eurozone central banks' demand for sovereign bonds under the extended asset purchase programme further creates momentum to start gradually implementing the restriction.
  • 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: Mikkel Barslund, Søren Arnberg
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper aims to estimate the crowding-out effect of the Danish mandatory labour market pension reforms begun in 1993 on the level of total household savings for renters. The effect is identified via a large panel of individual administrative records utilising the differences in speed, timing and sectoral coverage of the implementation of the reform in the period 1997 to 2005. Little substitutability was found between current mandatory labour market pension savings and private voluntary savings. Each euro paid into mandatory labour market pension accounts results in a reduction in private savings of approximately 0 to 30 cents, depending on age. This low rate of substitution is only, to a minor extent, explained by liquidity constraints. The results point to mandatory pension savings having a large effect on total household savings. Thus, pension reforms that introduce mandatory savings have macroeconomic implications.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Reform
  • Political Geography: Denmark
  • Author: Miroslav Beblavý, Marcela Veselkova
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In this Working Paper, based on nearly 20 papers produced by the Centre for European Policy Studies, Slovak Governance Institute and the Conference Board Europe, we examine whether the current trends in the areas of education and skills are pushing the European Union, towards convergence or polarisation. We cover a wide range of questions related to this main issue. No easy answers, but several cross-cutting messages emerged from the research. We demonstrated that there is increasing complexity in what a 'low-skilled' person is and how well (or poorly) s/he fares in the labour market. There are undoubtedly powerful forces pushing for more polarisation, particularly in the labour market. Our research confirmed that early childhood education plays an important role, and it also appears to be increasingly uncontested as a policy prescription. However, the other frequently emphasised remedy to inequality - less selection in secondary education, particularly later division of children into separate tracks - is more problematic. Its effectiveness depends on the country in question and the target group, while education systems are extremely difficult to shift even on a long-term basis. A different, more-nuanced type of warning to policy-makers is delivered in our research on returns to higher education by field of study, which showed hidden rationality in how students choose their major.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Clara Portela
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This study analyses the use by the European Union of the novel concept of 'targeted sanctions' in the framework of its Common Foreign and Security Policy. It examines two sets of sanctions regimes featuring different degrees of efficacy: in Myanmar and Zimbabwe, the EU wielded measures in support of human rights and democracy objectives in the absence of a United Nations mandate, while it supplemented UN sanctions to stop nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea. The study highlights a number of facilitators of, or hindrances to, the efficacy of sanctions, such as the degree of support by regional powers or the presence of UN legitimation. It concludes that the EU sanctions regimes could be optimised by using more robust measures, designing them on the basis of ex ante assessments, enabling faster upgrades, monitoring their impact and adjusting them regularly and improving outreach efforts.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, United Nations, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Arno Behrens, Jonas Teusch, Caroline Coulie
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper assesses the impact of decarbonisation of the energy sector on employment in Europe. Setting the stage for such an assessment, the paper provides an analysis of possible pathways to decarbonise Europe's energy system, taking into account EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2020 and 2050. It pays particular attention to various low-carbon technologies that could be deployed in different regions of the EU. It concludes that efficiency and renewables play a major role in any decarbonisation scenario and that the power sector is the main enabler for the transition to a low-carbon economy in Europe, despite rising electricity demand. The extent of the decline in the share of fossil fuels will largely depend on the existence of carbon capture and storage (CCS), which remains a major source of uncertainty.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Science and Technology
  • 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: Ansgar Belke, Timo Baas
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Member countries of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) initiated wide-ranging labour market reforms in the last decade. This process is ongoing as countries that are faced with serious labour market imbalances perceive reforms as the fastest way to restore competitiveness within a currency union. This fosters fears among observers about a beggar-thy-neighbour policy that leaves non-reforming countries with a loss in competitiveness and an increase in foreign debt. Using a two-country, two-sector search and matching DSGE model, we analyse the impact of labour market reforms on the transmission of macroeconomic shocks in both non-reforming and reforming countries. By analysing the impact of reforms on foreign debt, we contribute to the debate on whether labour market reforms increase or reduce current account imbalances.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Politics, Labor Issues, Reform
  • Author: Ilaria Maselli, Miroslav Beblavý
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: There is a general consensus that to achieve employment growth, especially for vulnerable groups, it is not enough to kick-start economic growth. It is also essential to improve the s kills among both the high-and low-skilled population.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Science and Technology, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe, Somalia
  • Author: Ilaria Maselli, Miroslav Beblavý
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Tackling the high and increasing unemployment rate ranks at the top of the EU policy agenda, especially with regard to young people. There is a general consensus that to achieve employment growth, especially for vulnerable groups, it is not enough to kick-start economic growth - skills among both the high-and low-skilled population also need to be improved. However, we need to move beyond simplified narratives and generic policies in order to better understand a much-debated and lamented phenomenon : the lack of graduates in subjects related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
  • Topic: Education, Science and Technology, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: Steven Blockmans, Luigi Scazzieri
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: On January 20th, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran had been implementing its commitments as part of the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) agreed by the E3+3 in Geneva on November 24th of last year. In particular, the Agency confirmed that Iran had not installed new centrifuges, that it had stopped enriching uranium above 5%, that it had disabled connections between cascades being used to enrich up to 20%, and that it had begun the process of diluting half of its stockpile of 20%, while the other half is to be converted to oxide over the next six months. Over the next six months, the IAEA will continue to monitor Iranian enrichment, and activities at Arak, Fordow and Natanz. Immediately following the IAEA announcement, the US and EU suspended some of the sanctions currently imposed on Iran. Sanctions relief, quantified at $7 billion, comprises both the suspension of some sanctions and the repatriation of $4.2 billion of oil revenues in tranches.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Cooperation, International Organization, Treaties and Agreements, International Security, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Steven Blockmans
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Concerns about the deterioration of democracy in Turkey are not new: the trials over the 2003 „ Sledgehammer ‟ alleged coup plan (2010-12) and over the ‟ Ergenekon ‟ secret organisation (2008-13) broke the military‟s influence over politics, but were widely criticised because of their reliance on secret witnesses and disputes over evidence. Ironically, their outcome has recently been challenged by Prime Minister Erdoğan himself, who has disowned the trials now that the judiciary has the AK Party in its sights. International concern was also stirred by the violent crackdown on the countrywide protests of May/June 2013. Unrest then was triggered by the planned redevelopment of Istanbul‟s Gezi Park in May 2013, but developed into a wider movement critical of government corruption, increasing restrictions on freedom of speech and concerns about the erosion of secularism. Protests simmered on through September, winding down in autumn and winter only to reignite in March of this year.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • 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: Steven Blockmans
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine has unleashed a storm of grief and anger in the EU and around the world. Heads of state and government have joined the public outcry and called for tough action against those directly and indirectly responsible for this heinous crime. The EU's reaction, however, has been lame so far by comparison.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Territorial Disputes, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • 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: Erwan Fouéré
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: It is a damning reflection of our times that one of the EU's most successful foreign policy achievements has never been under so much criticism. During the recent elections for the European Parliament, populist eurosceptic parties were in the forefront of those campaigning against the EU's enlargement agenda. Their attempts at equating further enlargement with the dangers of increased immigration from Turkey, the Western Balkans and even other EU member states were bolstered by the leaders of some long-standing member states, such as the UK, openly calling for restrictions on freedom of movement — one of the fundamental pillars of the EU.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Balkans
  • Author: Jacques Pelkmans, Weinian Hu
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This CEPS Policy Brief is based on a larger study for the EEAS and European Commission, written by the same authors in the run-up of the Milan ASEM summit of 16-17 October 2014. The main idea of the study is to assess whether ASEM works and how, by verifying the factual evidence in detail. After all, ASEM has no institutions, no budget and no treaty, whilst dialogues and a loose improvement over time in Asia-Europe relations refer to process much more than genuine 'results'. The stocktaking covers all ASEM activities since the 2006 Helsinki summit. Summit and foreign ministers' declarations and ASEM calendar of activities (and interviews) are used to trace ASEM activities in the three ASEM pillars (political, economic, and peoples-to-peoples/cultural). All the 'regular' ASEM meetings at ministerial and other levels (many of which are only known to relatively few) have been mapped. Also the ASEM working methods, based on the 2000AECF framework and many subsequent initiatives, have been scrutinised, including whether they are actually implemented or not or partially. Such methods refer to how to work together in areas of cooperation (beyond the typical ASEM dialogue), organisation, coordination and ASEM visibility.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Singapore
  • 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: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The mantra in Brussels and all over Europe is that investment holds the key to recovery in the euro area. A central element of the new Commission's economic strategy is a proposed programme of investment of €300 billion.The emphasis on investment is not new, but has grown in strength as the euro area seems stuck in a never-ending recession.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jørgen Mortensen
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper first takes a step backwards with an attempt to situate the recent adoption of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union in the context of discussions on the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) and the 'Maastricht criteria', as fixed in the Maastricht Treaty for membership in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in a longer perspective of the sharing of competences for macroeconomic policy-making within the EU. It then presents the main features of the new so-called 'Fiscal Compact' and its relationship to the SGP and draws some conclusions as regards the importance and relevance of this new step in the process of economic policy coordination. It concludes that the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union does not seem to offer a definitive solution to the problem of finding the appropriate budgetary-monetary policy mix in EMU, which was already well identified in the Delors report in 1989 and regularly emphasised ever since and is now seriously aggravated due to the crisis in the eurozone. Furthermore, implementation of this Treaty may under certain circumstances contribute to an increase in the uncertainties as regards the distribution of the competences between the European Parliament and national parliaments and between the former and the Commission and the Council.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Anna-Elisabeth Thum, Miroslav Beblavý, Galina Potjagailo
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Adult learning is seen as a key factor for enhancing employment, innovation and growth, and it should concern all age cohorts. The aim of this paper is to understand the points in the life cycle at which adult learning takes place and whether it leads to reaching a medium or high level of educational attainment. To this end we perform a synthetic panel analysis of adult learning for cohorts aged 25 to 64 in 27 European countries using the European Labour Force Survey. We find, as previous results suggest, that a rise in educational attainment as well as participation in education and training happens mostly at the age range of 25-29. However, investment across the life cycle by cohorts older than 25 still occurs: in most countries in our sample, participation in education and training as well as educational attainment increases observably across all cohorts. We also find that the decline with age slows down or is even reversed for older cohorts, for both participation in education and educational attainment. Finally, we can identify a Nordic model in which adult learning is achieved through participation in education and training, a Central European model in which adult learning occurs in the form of increasing educational attainment and a liberal model in which both approaches to adult learning are observable.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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, Marten von Werder
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This report reviews national and private initiatives to allow the elderly to continue their participation in the Finnish labour market and provides an analysis of the labour market and living conditions of seniors. We are interested in how those over 50 can be engaged in various forms of employment and lifelong learning. We find strong evidence that Finland generally provides good institutional conditions for active ageing. The quick and early ageing process was tackled by the fundamental pension reform that already prolonged retirement substantially and will probably facilitate later retirement as the attitudes concerning retirement change. On the other hand, Finland still seems to lack behind the other Nordic welfare states, has considerable problems in providing the same health conditions to low educated people in physically demanding occupations and could - with respect to family pension in particular - invest further effort in reforming the pension system. While many of the reforms Finland has conducted seem to be favourable and transferable to other European countries that still face the steepest phases of ageing in their societies, a reluctance towards changing attitudes that we observe in Finland, shows that organizing active ageing is a long-term project.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Health, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland
  • 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: Bernard Delbecque
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that it should be possible to complement Europe's Economic and Monetary Union with an insurance-type shock absorption mechanism to increase the resilience of member countries to economic shocks and reduce output volatility. Such a mechanism would neither require the establishment of a central authority, nor would it lead to permanent transfers between countries. For this mechanism to become a reality, however, it would be necessary to overcome certain technical problems linked to the difficulty of anticipating correctly the position of an economy in the business cycle.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: 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: Erwan Fouéré
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Macedonia is a country in deep trouble. Under a veneer of normality lies a climate of deep mistrust between all the political parties and between the main ethnic communities. Several incidents of inter-ethnic violence took place in the capital city earlier this year and are on the increase. Political dialogue, insofar as it exists between the parties, remains confrontational.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Corruption, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Bernard Delbecque
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that it should be possible to complement Europe's Economic and Monetary Union with an insurance-type shock absorption mechanism to increase the resilience of member countries to economic shocks and reduce output volatility. Such a mechanism would neither require the establishment of a central authority, nor would it lead to permanent transfers between countries. For this mechanism to become a reality, however, it would be necessary to overcome certain technical problems linked to the difficulty of anticipating correctly the position of an economy in the business cycle.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: There are three aggregate numbers that describe the problem the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) is inheriting: the 130 banks under its direct supervision hold assets worth 250% of the euro area's GDP, their capital is equivalent to only 4% of their assets' value and they have made zero profits, in the aggregate, over the last four years.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Andrea Renda
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: A lively debate emerged on the proposed "Connected Continent" legislative package presented by the European Commission in September 2013. The package contains a proposed rule on the 'open Internet', which was heavily discussed in European Parliament hearings in early December. This commentary argues that while the proposed rule is in principle balanced and appealing, it is utterly impractical due to the enormous uncertainty that its application would entail. At the same time, the rule is very far from what neutrality proponents have argued for almost a decade: rather than the place for internet freedom, it would transform the Web into a place requiring constant micro-management and tutoring of user behavior. Both arguments lead to the conclusion that the current proposal should be at once reformed and analysed under a more holistic lens. On the one hand, Europe should launch an ambitious project for the future, converged infrastructure by mobilising resources and reforming rules to encourage investment into ubiquitous, converged, 'always on' connectivity. On the other hand, enhanced legal certainty for broadband investment could justify a more neutrality-oriented approach to traffic management practices on the Internet. The author proposes a new approach to Internet regulation which, altogether, will lead to a more balanced and sustainable model for the future, without jeopardising user freedom.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy, Infrastructure, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Giovanni Faleg
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Let us take three assumptions: The demand for security provision continues to increase in Europe's fragile neighbourhood (notably following the 'Arab Spring'); Austerity restrictions have hit national defence budgets heavily; The balance of power is shifting 'from the West to the rest' and the Americans are pivoting eastwards. Under these circumstances, it is no surprise that the EU is struggling to establish itself as a credible and effective security actor. The final report of High Representative Catherine Ashton, released in preparation for the December 2013 European Council on Security and Defence, admits that Europe "faces rising security challenges within a changing strategic context while the financial crisis is increasingly affecting its security and defence capability". But these are not the true causes of CSDP inertia.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Rym Ayadi, Willem Pieter De Groen
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The 2007-09 global financial crisis led to a virtual collapse in economic activity and increased financial volatility worldwide. For the developing countries, the main channel of transmission has been a drop in external transactions, such as trade, financial and capital flows, and remittances. The southern and eastern Mediterranean countries (SEMC) have also faced declining economic activity, although there seems to be considerable variation in the relative magnitudes and timing of the decline. Most of the economies in the Mediterranean basin have had delayed but longer-lasting consequences as a result of the crisis, driven mostly by their endemic trade and investment ties with the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jacques Pelkmans, Ineke Gubbels-van Hal, Lorna Schrefler
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Right from the start of the REACH debate, following the Commission proposal of October 2003, one of the more serious concerns was whether and how SMEs could cope with REACH. Indeed, there were doubts whether one of the main objectives of REACH – competitiveness of chemical and downstream companies – is consistent with the design and detailed implementation of REACH. Already in 2005, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on this aspect, insisting e.g. on lower fees for SMEs as one remedy to reduce the expected regulatory burden for smaller companies. The fear of REACH being unduly heavy and costly for SMEs has never gone away (see e.g. Gubbels Pelkmans, 2009) but merely receded in the background when the Commission and the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) were in the process of building and elaborating the REACH machinery in operational terms. This year, the problem is rearing its head again in a magnified fashion and it will not go away so easily this time.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Matthias Busse, Christal Morehouse
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Against the background of demographic decline and growing economic competitiveness from emerging economies, this Policy Brief looks into the potential benefits of increased intra-EU labour mobility. On the basis of an examination of the 'German case' on EU labour mobility. It proposes ideas on how to better foster a European fair deal on talent, one that would benefit the EU as a whole. It concludes with a proposal on how to increase the potential benefits of the freedom of movement.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Migration, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: One of the more troublesome features of banks is that they still hold so little equity. In 2013 the capital and reserves of EU banks amounted to only 7.6% of total balance sheets. Well-run businesses outside the banking sector typically hold equity shares of 20%, 30% or more of their balances sheets. For good reasons; these well-run firms know that shocks can occur that could wipe out large parts of their balance sheets. Good business strategy thus leads these firms to hold sufficiently large buffers to avoid bankruptcy.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi, Jacopo Carmassi, Ginevra Bruzzone
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The European Commission proposal for a Regulation establishing a European Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) for banks is now under consideration before the European Parliament and the Council. The main principles and tools applicable for resolving a failing bank are contained in the June 2012 Commission proposal for a Directive on bank recovery and resolution (BRR), aimed at harmonising crisis management and resolution tools in EU member states, which is also under consideration by the European legislators. Any discussion of the new system must therefore be based on both proposals.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sergio Carrera, Elspeth Guild, Nicholas Hernanz
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The European Union, and its Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ), is founded on a set of common principles of rule of law, democracy and human rights. This has been officially enshrined in the body of Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) which lists "respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities" as the shared values on which the Union is rooted. One of the current modalities of action to ensure that all member states of the EU respect Article 2 TEU is to filter their compliance with these values before they accede to the Union. The so-called 'Copenhagen criteria' have been established in 1993 to ensure that all new EU member states are in line with the Union's common principles before crossing the bridge towards membership.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, International Law, Regional Cooperation
  • 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: Andrea Renda
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief looks at available options for the mid-term review of Europe 2020, which is currently being addressed both by the European Commission and by several Council formations under the aegis of the Italian presidency of the EU, and will be finalised by March 2015.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Infrastructure, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Andrea Renda, Oliver Fritsch, Claudio M. Radaelli, Lorna Schrefler
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines the quality of impact assessments in the European Commission and the United Kingdom for the period 2005-2010. We coded 477 impact assessments for the UK and 251 for the European Commission, using a detailed scorecard - adjusted to reduce the bias evidenced by previous usages of this instrument.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper finds evidence that a significant part of the surge in the spreads of the PIGS countries (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) in the eurozone during 2010-11 was disconnected from underlying increases in the debt-to-GDP ratios, and was the result of negative market sentiments that became very strong since the end of 2010.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland
  • Author: 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: Glada Lahn, Arno Behrens, Jorge Núñez Ferrer, Eike Dreblow, Mathilde Carraro, Sebastian Veit
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the continuous efforts of developing countries and the international community to reduce energy poverty, some 2.7 billion people around the world still rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating and 1.3 billion people do not have access to electricity. Over 80% of the energy poor live in rural areas and roughly two thirds in sub-Saharan Africa and India. While fossil fuels will inevitably play a major role in expanding on-grid energy supply, this study shows that renewable energy sources – and especially small decentralised solutions – have huge potential for providing reliable, sustainable and affordable energy services for the poor, particularly in rural areas of developing countries. Many challenges remain, including financing, capacity-building, technology transfer and governance reforms. A careful assessment of the environmental impacts of renewable energy technologies, particularly those on water, is an important prerequisite for donor finance. With the right design, energy access projects can also bring a host of developmental co-benefits. It should be possible for international initiatives including the UN's Year of Sustainable Energy for All and the EU's partnership with Africa to build on the rich experience and lessons learned from pilot projects over the last two decades in order to optimise donor effectiveness in this area.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Poverty, Science and Technology, United Nations, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, India
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper tests the hypothesis that government bond markets in the eurozone are more fragile and more susceptible to self-fulfilling liquidity crises than in stand-alone countries. We find evidence that a significant part of the surge in the spreads of the PIGS countries (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) in the eurozone during 2010-11 was disconnected from underlying increases in the debt-to-GDP ratios and fiscal space variables, and was the result of negative self-fulfilling market sentiments that became very strong since the end of 2010. We argue that this can drive member countries of the eurozone into bad equilibria.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Andrey S. Makarychev, Larisa Deriglazova, Oleg Reut
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The rising generation of Russian foreign policy experts and commentators, especially outside Moscow, is increasingly sceptical about the key premises of Russian diplomacy and see more failures than achievements in Russia's relations with its closest partners, including the EU and neighbouring states. This is the conclusion that stems from a series of interviews and focus groups carried out with young Russian professionals about Russia's current foreign policies. The study reveals a strong cognitive dissonance between the official diplomatic discourse of the Kremlin and the perceptions of young experts who work in a variety of fields dealing with international cooperation either at a lower level of the state hierarchy or in different professional domains. This paper summarises the key findings of this project and discusses their practical implications.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Moscow
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Dirk Schoenmaker
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The eurozone is caught in a 'diabolical loop' in which weak domestic banking systems damage sovereign fiscal positions and conversely, in which risky sovereign positions disproportionately threaten domestic banking stability. A European-level banking system could go a long way towards breaking this unfortunate loop and stabilising the eurozone. This would require a European safety net for cross-border banks.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: 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: Jonas Teusch
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the interplay between shale gas and the EU internal gas market. Drawing on data presented in the 2012 International Energy Agency's report on unconventional gas and additional scenario analyses performed by the Joint Research Centre, the paper is based on the assumption that shale gas will not fundamentally change the EU's dependence on foreign gas supplies. It argues that attention should be shifted away from hyping shale gas to completing the internal gas market. Two main reasons are given for this. First, the internal gas market is needed to enable shale gas development in countries where there is political support for shale gas extraction. And second, a well-functioning internal gas market would, arguably, contribute much more to Europe's security of supply than domestic shale gas exploitation. This has important implications for the shale gas industry. As it is hard to see how subsidies or exemptions from environmental legislation could be justified, shale gas development in Europe will only go ahead if it proves to be both economically and environmentally viable. It is thus up to the energy industry to demonstrate that this is the case.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Famine
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes two claims that have been made about the Target2 payment system. The first one is that this system has been used to support unsustainable current account deficits of Southern European countries. The second one is that the large accumulation of Target2 claims by the Bundesbank represents an unacceptable risk for Germany if the eurozone were to break up. We argue that these claims are unfounded. They also lead to unnecessary fears in Germany that make a solution of the eurozone crisis more difficult. Ultimately, this fear increases the risk of a break-up of the eurozone. Or to paraphrase Franklin Roosevelt, what Germany should fear most is simply its own fear.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: 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: Noriko Fujiwara
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: From 2006 to 2011, the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP) provided a non-legally binding framework based on a public–private partnership to support projects towards clean development and climate objectives in seven countries in the region. Three of the eight sectoral APP task forces (on power generation and transmission, cement and steel) are to continue their activities under the Global Superior Energy Performance partnership (GSEP), with a stronger focus on energy efficiency and environmental performance, and participation expanded to the global scale. This decision was based on the official view that the APP activities were successful and could lead to other successes in similar initiatives with similar working formats.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Thomas Mayer
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that the new permanent European rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), should be provided with a liquidity backstop by having it registered as a bank – and be treated as such by the European Central Bank. If the crisis were to become acute again, the ESM would stand ready to intervene in secondary markets, potentially with almost unlimited amounts of funding. Access to central bank financing will be crucial in a future crisis, because in such a crisis risk aversion is likely to be extreme, and even the ESM might not be able to raise at very short notice the huge sums that might be required to prevent a breakdown of the financial system. Hundreds of billions of euro might be needed just to top up the programmes for Greece, Ireland and Portugal – and Spain and Italy may require more than a thousand billion euro. Sums of this order of magnitude cannot be raised quickly by a new institution. Simply increasing the headline size of the ESM might thus be of little use.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland
  • Author: Jonas Teusch
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief argues that pursuing the renewables objective could contribute to the completion of the internal electricity market, help to overcome opposition to transmission projects and decrease the market power of incumbents. Conversely, an integrated internal electricity market means less price volatility in specific regional markets, which allows for more efficient deployment and grid integration of renewables.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Lukas Obholzer, Christine Reh
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Constitutional Affairs Committee is currently reviewing the European Parliament's Rules of Procedure to increase the effectiveness, transparency and inclusiveness of first-reading agreements under co-decision. This CEPS Policy Brief takes a stand as to which rules should be adopted to achieve these objectives. Given the steep rise of early agreements and Parliament's role as a guarantor of EU legitimacy, we place a premium on inclusiveness and transparency. The rules suggested are designed to maintain efficiency for technical proposals, facilitate effective decision-making on urgent files and increase the overall legitimacy of legislative decision-making in the EU.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: One of the major problems of the eurozone is the divergence of the competitive positions that have built up since the early 2000s. This divergence has led to major imbalances in the eurozone where the countries that have seen their competitive positions deteriorate (mainly the so - called ' PIIGS ' – Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain ) have accumulated large current account deficits and thus external indebtedness, matched by current account surpluses of the countries that have improved their competitive positions (mainly Germany).
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Lax financial conditions can foster credit booms. The global credit boom of the last decade led to large capital flows across the world, including large movements of resources from the Northern countries of the euro area towards the Southern part. Since the start of the crisis and more markedly after 2009, these flows have suddenly stopped, creating severe adjustment pressures. This paper argues that, at this point, the common monetary policy can only try to mitigate the unavoidable adjustment by maintaining overall financial stability. The challenge is to strike a delicate balance between providing liquidity for solvent institutions while keeping the overall pressure on for a rapid correction of the imbalances.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Cinzia Alcidi
  • 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