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  • Author: Janne Salminen, Päivi Leino
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The actual need for Treaty amendments is open to interpretation, for example in relation to the inclusion of the recent euro crisis-related international agreements in EU law. These questions are partly political in nature, and linked to the wider legitimacy of the EU and the integrity and clarity of its legal system. The full realization of the Commission's vision for the future of the EMU would require Treaty changes in order to revise the nature of competence in the area of economic policy and the general framework of cooperation. The recent discussion on the euro crisis measures has demonstrated that many member states have constitutional 'red lines' relating, for example, to the exercise of budgetary powers or sovereignty. It seems unlikely that these hurdles will be overcome in the short term.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Susan Schadler
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Throughout the history of IMF lending, the institution has had PCS — that is, distressed countries borrowing from the IMF are expected to give priority to meeting their obligations to the IMF over those to other (private or official) creditors. This status is a defining characteristic of the IMF's role in financial crises: it provides a high degree of confidence that IMF resources are safe even when other creditors of the distressed country face substantial uncertainty about whether they will be repaid in full. In other words, the IMF, which lends to some of the riskiest countries in the world, faces minimal risk that its resources could be compromised by a debtor country's difficulties in servicing its debt. It does so, however, with the confidence that comes from its role in helping to formulate and monitor a program of policies that are strongly expected to return the country to stability.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Monetary Fund, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sebastian Plóciennik
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although the euro has survived the most severe phase of the current crisis, its future is still uncertain. The fate of the common currency will depend not only on the condition of the European economy, but also the priorities of its biggest player—Germany. So far that country has been strong enough to enforce its own vision of integration based on neoliberal reforms and austerity measures. Since the side effects of this prescription have been rising costs and risks, Berlin's new government will consider a range of different solutions, including in extremis a controlled and partial break-up of the Eurozone. For Poland, this volatility creates a challenging environment with risks, but also creates chances for Warsaw to increase its influence over the evolution of EU integration in this field.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Xavier Vanden Bosch
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: In recent years much has been accomplished to make the EMU more resilient to banking crises, sovereign-debt crises or balance-of-payment crises. Several 'backstops' or financial safety nets were progressively put in place to absorb the shocks that could have otherwise broken the EMU as a system. These substantial advances reflected a gradual, trial-and-error approach rather than a grand design that would have completely overhauled the EMU architecture. While flexibility and realism have advantages, complacency is a clear risk. With no roadmap to follow, efforts to complete the architecture of the EMU may fade with time. Maintaining a sense of direction is crucial while potential vulnerabilities remain.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stijn Verhelst, Xavier Vanden Bosch
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief discusses the challenges that await policymakers in reforming the EMU. A balance between discipline and solidarity will have to be found, while institutional reforms should improve the eurozone's legitimacy and efficiency. The key decisions on EMU reforms will have to be made during the 2014-2019 parliamentary term, as the window of opportunity for major reforms is likely to be closed afterwards.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Timo Behr, Tuomas Iso-Markku
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The outcome of the German federal elections on September 22nd will have a significant impact on the management of the on-going eurozone crisis and set the tone for the future course of European integration. Although the EU and the euro are largely absent from current electoral debates, significant differences on these issues exist both inside and between German political parties in the run-up to the September polls. However, in the absence of significant debate, fundamental decisions over the future of EU integration will be postponed until after the election, when a cross-party compromise appears more feasible. Regardless of the election outcome, the next German government is likely to prove more conciliatory on austerity policies in Europe and will boost domestic spending, but will retain some red lines on further EU integration. While the rhetoric and the pace of change might differ significantly depending on the shape that the next coalition government takes, German eurozone policies will continue to trade fiscal solidarity for structural reforms.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Baldur Thorhallsso, Alyson J. K. Bailes
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Iceland applied for EU membership in 2009 at the height of the economic crisis. Four years later, a new government has put the application on hold: the majority of Icelanders are opposed to entry, but want to continue the accession process and put the results to a vote. Iceland's longer-standing problems with European integration stem from the issue of sovereignty in general, and maintaining control over fisheries and agriculture in particular. Since 2009, anti-European feelings have been stoked by the 'Icesave' dispute, while the prospective benefits of entry (including use of the euro) have been tarnished by witnessing the fate of other small states during the euro crisis. The new government proposes remaining a member of the EEA and developing relations with other world powers. But the US commitment to Iceland has weakened over the years, and 'rising' powers like China are unable, as yet, to solve the country's core problems. In terms of both its security and its standing within the global economy, Iceland is becoming more rather than less dependent on Europe over time. The question raised by the latest political turn is whether it will have to maintain that relationship from a distance, with limited control and with no guaranteed goodwill.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Safeguarding the EU's unity in the long-term development of the EMU is currently one of the major challenges for the Union. The de facto adjustments made to the EU's economic and fiscal powers due to the economic and financial crisis, including the completion of the Banking Union, create pressures to address the treaty-based division of powers and to strengthen the democratic control of the powers executed by the Union. The need to back the EU's macroeconomic goals with fiscal instruments has been made evident by the economic crisis; the position of these instruments outside the common budget might become increasingly controversial. A further increase in economic solidarity (jointly guaranteed debt, taxation power) might jeopardize the EU's stability and democratic legitimacy if carried out in the current political and institutional framework. A system of constitutional and fiscal federalism would produce a more stable outcome, but would require major changes in the EU's democratic system and system of policy implementation, in its external policies and the way its constitutional powers are arranged.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Juha Jokela
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Policymakers, observers and the media have referred to a vast number of divisions in crisis-torn Europe. The EU is divided between north and south or creditors and debtors. Some have emphasised the emerged division between anti-EU and pro- EU forces. Significantly, these divisions are also manifested within the eurozone, in the form of the current differences between the French and German views, and the increasing role of the populist movements in many euro countries. Yet others have highlighted the boundary between the eurozone and the rest of the EU, and suggested that the euro countries now form the core of the Union. Relatedly, some of the non-euro members are distancing themselves from the EU – most notably the UK – while many others aim to secure their influence in the Union, even if euro membership may have been put on the back burner.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Samu Kurri
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The financial and economic crisis has reinforced the two-layer economic integration structure in the EU. Many of the new rules and structures created during the crisis have focused on a solution to the euro crisis and are thus euro area-specific. There is little evidence, however, that the situation would have dramatically changed compared to the Maastricht EMU. All of the changes are still in line with the basic idea that all EU countries will join the euro when they are ready to do so. One of the key questions in the near future is likely to centre on the contours of the euro area specific decision-making, its relationship to the EU as a whole, and its institutions and procedures. Even if the Euro group remains 'formally informal', it has managed to transform itself into a de facto institution within the EU, and its role and weight is likely to increase rather than decrease.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • 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: 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: 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: Hadewych Hazelzet
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Over the past two years, many high-level discussions within the EU have centred around the question of the 'added value' of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). In times of fiscal austerity, member states want to make sure they invest their resources where their impact is strongest. In the current climate of financial crisis and retrenchment, there are no resources or time to waste on a 'beauty contest' between organisations or instruments. In order to prepare for the next decade of deployments, the question to ask is therefore not whether but under what conditions CSDP has brought added value, to date, in responding to given contingencies.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Since the US Federal Reserve signalled that a turn in the interest rate cycle may be on the horizon, UK and to a lesser extent Eurozone interest rates have tracked US rates higher. But the UK and Eurozone economies are less well placed than the US to cope with higher interest rates. Simulations carried out on our Global Economic Model show that higher rates would be particularly harmful to the UK economy's embryonic recovery. In an attempt to stem the rise in interest rates, the Bank of England and the ECB have introduce forward guidance but with little, if any, success. Markets do not seem convinced by the Bank of England's commitment to forward guidance and are testing its resolve. It seems likely that over time both central banks may have to strengthen their forward guidance, in the case of the Bank of England by augmenting it with further quantitative easing.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Mario Draghi's commitment a year ago to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro looks to have been an important turning point in the Eurozone crisis. Systemic risk has fallen, the euro has strengthened, spreads on peripheral debt have narrowed and bond and equity markets have become less sensitive to bad Eurozone news flow. Indeed, to date markets seem to have taken Draghi at his word and seem unwilling to test his resolve. But although confidence in the outlook for the Eurozone among investors has risen over the past year, the real economy is yet to emerge from recession. We continue to expect this to happen in the second half of this year, a view supported by this week's improvement in the PMI data. However, unless action is taken to reduce borrowing costs paid by households and companies in the peripheral economies, the recovery will be anaemic. With that in mind, the ECB's announcement that it will ease its collateral rules only marginally is disappointing.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Comments from the US Federal Reserve aimed at signalling that monetary policy cannot stay at historically low levels indefinitely have caused bond yields and credit spreads to rise both in the US and abroad. Higher borrowing rates are particularly inappropriate for the Eurozone which, unlike the US, is still struggling to emerge from recession. This tightening of financial conditions will place pressure on the ECB to act. Although surveys show that investors' bearishness on US government bonds is at an extreme level, suggesting that in the coming weeks bond yields are more likely to fall than rise, the longer-term trend in bond yields is now upwards. But we do not expect the rise in yields over the next two or three years to kill off the US recovery. Consequently, we believe that the US equity market is still on an upward uptrend, albeit one that will experience regular spikes in volatility as the Fed gradually moves away from its ultra-loose policy.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: The housing market is recovering, according to recent price and activity data. Post-crisis price corrections were smaller in the UK than in the US and much of Europe, and demand is now being bolstered by the government's Funding for Lending and Help to Buy schemes. This has given rise to some worries that the UK is in danger of inflating another house price bubble. While housing supply is very tight, we are not convinced that these schemes will have enough impact on demand to cause prices to take off.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Stanislav Secrieru, Lukasz Kulesa, Agnes Nicolescu, Anita Sobják
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With the global economic downturn and its implications for the broader political and security architecture of the EU, the Polish—Romanian Strategic Partnership signed in 2009 is now ripe to take the positive relationship to a new level and to be further fleshed out. To this end, political coordination needs to be upgraded for promoting common interests, such as economic stability and solidarity within the Union, continued support to agriculture and cohesion policy as an important priority for EU funding, increasing the energy security of the region, engaging the neighbourhood, particularly Moldova and Ukraine, and maintaining the relevance of CSDP and of article 5 of the Washington Treaty high on the European agenda. The management of instability and protracted conflicts in their neighbourhood are also among their shared concerns. Translating these common priorities into concrete actions should aim at pushing the "turbo button" on the partnership, and help both countries achieve their goals.
  • Topic: Security, Debt, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The lingering effects of the eurozone crisis have weakened the European project as a whole. As a result, stronger and more effective cooperation between enthusiastic EU countries such as Poland and Spain is very much needed. Besides cooperation within the EU in such fields as completing the single market and promoting a more holistic approach to the European Neighbourhood Policy, both countries should focus on improving their economic ties in bilateral relations and beyond. Through "smart" trade triangulation, Poland could open new markets in Eastern Europe for Spain, and Spain could reciprocate by doing the same for Poland in Latin America. This could help Poland make the economy more competitive and give Spain a lever for economic recovery.
  • Topic: Economics, Bilateral Relations, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Patrick Nopens
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Three major geopolitical events are putting the stability of the Eastern Mediterranean at risk. Most of the region is in a deep monetary and economic crisis. The Arab Spring is causing turmoil in the Levant and the Maghreb. Gas and oil discoveries, if not well managed, could further destabilise the region. At the same time, Russia and Turkey are staging a comeback. In the face of these challenges, the EU approaches the Greek sovereign debt crisis nearly exclusively from a financial and economic viewpoint. This brief argues that the EU has to develop a comprehensive strategy for the region, complementing its existing multilateral regional framework with bilateral agreements in order to secure its interests in the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • Topic: Security, Debt, Oil, Regime Change, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Arabia
  • Author: Stijn Verhelst
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief argues that the envisaged design of the Banking Union risks not being sufficient to deal with the next large-scale financial crisis. Therefore, an "if all else fails" clause should be approved, stating that the Banking Union members can provide joint last resort financing to deal with a future crisis. An agreement on the clause should be feasible because it is beneficial to all Member States.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: C. Boyden Gray
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of World War II, the greatest concern facing the United States and its European allies was restraining the Soviet Union and preventing the spread of communism. Cooperation on military security was paramount, and the United States and Europe rose to the challenge by creating NATO, a new type of multilateral defense agreement. Once again, the transatlantic relationship is at a new and perilous crossroads. But now it is economic, rather than military security that is at risk. Crisis grips the economies of Europe, just as the United States, mired in historic levels of unemployment in the wake of the 2008 recession, is rethinking its strategic priorities and place in the world. As before, fears mount concerning the future of liberal democracy and Western capitalism. The question is whether transatlantic cooperation will again rise to the challenge.
  • Topic: NATO, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Evrydiki Fotopoulou, Erdal Tanas Karagöl
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: It has been almost four years since the global financial crisis started in 2008 and it has become an inherently European affair. One after another, weaker European economies seeing their growth plummeting have become unable to recover on their own and are resorting to loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Union (EU). Already, Ireland, Greece and Portugal have requested full bailouts with Southern Cyprus as the newcomer, still under negotiation, while Spain has requested only partial assistance not acknowledging it may soon need full support. Many experts predict that Italy will follow suit as it is quite possible that it will be the next which without any access to credit markets to finance its needs. This policy analysis sheds some light on the current status of these countries: how the crisis was brought about, what measures they took, how have they performed thus far and what are the prospects for them. The role of the European Union is also being discussed in reference to the hesitant way it has addressed the problem and the cracks that appeared in the European establishment due to lack of mutual understanding and cooperation. In contrast to the weaker European economies, neighboring Turkey has managed to recover fast and exhibit positive signs that the economy is moving towards more sustainable growth rates while dealing with domestic vulnerabilities. This comparison serves as a reminder to reconsider both the usefulness of the single currency as well as whether Turkey's economy would benefit from closer ties with it, given that Europe faces a continued slowdown at least until 2014.
  • Topic: Markets, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Sara Hagemann
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The ongoing negotiation of the EU's multi-annual budget is heavily constrained by how the decision process takes place. Governments focus on narrowly defined national interests, rather than on securing a better budget for Europe. While the budget is small in size, it could be used as a powerful political tool for much needed economic growth policies on a larger scale.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ilaria Maselli
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The recently approved labour market reform in italy is clearly inspired by the danish flexicurity model. However, despite the noble intention and some improvements, the reform is failing to bring the long- hoped-for change, especially regarding the dualisation of the labour market and the universalisation of welfare provision.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: C. Fred Bergsten, Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Doom and gloom about the euro abounds. An increasing number of commentators and economists, including here at the Peterson Institute, have begun to question whether the common currency can survive.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Contagion from Greece, together with domestic political uncertainty in Italy, caused interest rates on Italian sovereign debt to spike in the second half of 2011. As shown in figure 1, the risk spread above German bunds for 10-year Italian government bonds rose from 200 basis points in early July 2011, to a range of 300 to 400 basis points after the July 21 Greek package with its new emphasis on private sector involvement. There was a second surge to the 400 to 500 basis point range in November through January, following the October 27 Greek package that insisted on a 50 percent reduction in private sector claims.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Italy
  • Author: C. Fred Bergsten, Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Getting the diagnosis right is a prerequisite for understanding the euro area predicament and evaluating key decisions taken since early 2010. As we laid out in Bergsten and Kirkegaard (2012), while the euro area faces multiple overlapping and mutually reinforcing elements of fiscal (Greece), banking (Ireland/Spain), and competitiveness (Southern periphery) crises, it is first and foremost facing a crisis of institutional design. The common currency as designed in the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 is a half-built house without the critical components of banking and fiscal union necessary to sustain it through the type of crushing economic and financial down- turn witnessed since October 2008.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In the current financial crisis plaguing Europe, Latvia stands out for resolving its financial problems quickly and resolutely. After contracting 24 percent in 2008 and 2009, it grew at the rate of 5.5 percent in 2011. The speed and determination. with which the government carried out austerity measures in 2009 and restored confidence after suffering the worst output decline is a crucial lesson for the ailing South European countries—Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Many policy observers and economists have dismissed Latvia's crisis resolution as irrelevant to the situation in Southern Europe. The Latvian orange, they say, cannot be compared with the South European apples. I argue otherwise.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Latvia
  • Author: Timo Behr, Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Germany's ambiguous role during the eurozone crisis has stoked fears that a more self-confident and dynamic Germany is threatening the political independence and economic well-being of its neighbours and will lead to a “German Europe”. German weakness, not power, is the main challenge to EU integration. In order to build a supranational EU and a “European Germany”, Germans will have to overhaul their Cold War institutions and traditions that have become a brake on EU integration. Germany's political elite continues to favour a federalist vision for the EU, but faces a somewhat more sceptical public as well as strong domestic veto players, such as the Federal Constitutional Court, which limit their pro-integrationist tendency. While Germany continues to support the use of the “Community method”, Angela Merkel has increasingly resorted to the “Union method” that places function over form and prioritizes pragmatic problem-solving to address the current crisis. Germany's uncompromising attitude towards the eurozone crisis and its sometimes erratic foreign policy are the product of its deeply embedded stability culture and instinctive pacifism, rather than a sign of growing global ambitions. European partners will have to help Germany in its indispensable leadership role by jointly formulating a vision for the European integration project and by assisting Germany in adapting its political institutions and culture.
  • Topic: Cold War, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Lessons learned from the current economic and financial crisis pose great challenges for the EU concerning the future development of the EMU. Through the recent changes the limits of a mere coordination of economic policies have been reached and a debate about turning the system into a true Economic and Monetary Union must be launched. A further strengthening of the EU's power in economic and fiscal policies would require a clearer move in the direction of fiscal federalism, that is, a more balanced relationship between the Union's budget and those of the member states. It would also require the finalization of the Union's democratic system along the lines of a federal political order. The divided character of the currency union presents significant difficulties for its further deepening and democratization.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Erik Jones
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The European sovereign debt crisis is the result of capital flows across the single market. The danger that such capital flows could unleash market speculation was known from the start; indeed, the single currency was created to remove the threat of exchange rate instability. The problem is that the architects of the single currency did not consider the impact of capital market integration on the banking sector or on the relationship between banks and national governments. Once markets lost confidence in the security of their cross-border investments, investors began to pull back their capital and the internal market for financial services started to disintegrate. The creation of a banking union is part of the solution. However, the euro area also needs a common 'risk-free' asset to use as a safe haven in times of crisis.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The eurozone is in recession and will show negative growth in 2012; GDP will fall sharply in Greece and Portugal, and there is substantial risk that Spain and Italy will follow suit (the Commission's recent forecasts seem overly optimistic and complacent; the IMF is more downbeat). But fiscal policies are uniformly restrictive throughout the eurozone and much of the Union, and the hopes that fiscal consolidation could spur growth by improving household and business confidence are not materialising. In reality, domestic demand has been hit too hard by fiscal consolidation, and investment throughout the Union remains well below pre- crisis levels. Credit is tight due to the deteriorating quality of borrowers and the ongoing deleveraging in banking.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: 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: 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: 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: 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
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The German economy is clearly slowing in the face of the latest phase of the Eurozone crisis. We expect the impact of the crisis on business investment and exports to cause the economy to contract in Q2 before recovering slowly in H2. As a result, GDP growth is now forecast to slow to 0.7% in 2012 overall from 3.1% last year, before accelerating to 1.4% in 2013.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: The global economy remains in precarious shape. Europe's debt crisis rages on, and although the euro appears to have survived its most recent test in the form of the Greek election on June 17th, austerity and financial-market uncertainty are depressing economic activity in Europe and, by extension, in much of the rest of the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit continues to expect global GDP growth to slow in 2012, and while our forecasts for the G3 economies—the US, euro zone and China—are essentially unchanged this month, we have cut our projections for Brazil and India.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, India, Brazil
  • Author: Nicholas Garrett, Anna Piccinni
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Conflict over natural resources is likely to pose significant threats to European security, and the European Union therefore needs to elaborate a comprehensive strategy to meet and overcome these threats. This strategy should combine existing instruments and approaches more effectively, while also finding new ways to balance the imperatives of access to natural resources, regulation of markets and conflict prevention, mitigation and resolution. Such an approach requires a better understanding of natural resource-related security and conflict challenges, as well as an analysis of how current policies affect these challenges. The strategy should therefore be based on comprehensive research into the connection between natural resources and conflict financing; the shifting nature of state effectiveness in the context of natural resource agreements; the link between resource conflict and climate change; and the impact of conflict over natural resources on the multipolar global economy.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Globalization, Natural Resources, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Onur Bayramoğlu
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: The current concern among many is that what we are faced today is not a usual crisis that is part of the economic cycle, but an era of great stagnation with low growth and high unemployment, not witnessed since the Great Depression of the 1930's. One wonders which country will drive global growth while major actors such as the European Union are now financial casinos, the United States is continuously losing its dynamism, Japan is struggling under demographical problems, and the emerging markets are still too small and volatile. Once again, policy makers acknowledge that the problems of growth are global and systematic; such that if one faces an issue, all of them get contaminated. However, they still seek for solutions in mercantilist national policies.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The EU's Eastern Partnership with the Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Belarus and Azerbaijan has now been in place for two years. But the EU is not looking eastwards much these days – it is looking inwards to tackle the aftermath of the financial crisis, and south to the Arab Spring. At the same time, the enthusiasm of the Eastern partners seems to be fading. The EU Commission's recent review of the European Neighborhood Policy points in the right direction but if the partnership is to make any sense, it is necessary to make it more attractive.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Caucasus, Arabia
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In the fall of 2008, Central and Eastern Europe became a flashpoint in the global financial crisis. The ten new eastern members of the European Union were in a state of severe overheating in all regards. Inflation surged everywhere and to double digits in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Wages and real estate prices skyrocketed, rendering these countries ever less competitive, which further undermined their current account balance. Output plunged and unemployment soared.
  • Topic: Economics, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria, Latvia
  • Author: Simon Johnson, Peter Boone
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Attempts to resolve the problems in Europe are failing, and the crisis is spreading from Greece, Ireland, and Portugal to larger nations. Europe's financial system relies on moral hazard, i.e., a “no defaults” policy, to attract the funding needed to roll over large amounts of short–term bank and sovereign debt. Now that politicians in creditor nations are calling for private sector burden sharing, investors are demanding higher interest rates to hold these debts. But higher rates may tip banks and nations toward bankruptcy. Europe's banks and financial system are highly integrated across countries. Rising expectations of default in some countries could lead to large-scale capital flight into “safe” countries. This shift will raise concerns regarding solvency and liquidity of many financial institutions. The payments system of the euro area is serving as an opaque bailout mechanism that is currently preventing the euro area from falling apart at this time. If the number of nations in trouble spreads beyond Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, this bailout system will be stressed because of the potential size of accumulated funding. The European Central Bank (ECB) could soon see a vocal debate between inflationist and hawkish (anti–inflation) members. Inflationists will call for large–scale interventions, including bond buybacks and emergency loans, while the hawks will attempt to close loopholes in the payments system that effectively permit each troubled nation to create money needed to finance capital flight and budget deficits. At this stage in the debate, we see little chance that Europe can avoid ending the “moral hazard” regime, in which case it needs to plan for widespread sovereign and bank debt restructurings.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Ireland
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: On July 21, 2011, the heads of government of the euro area announced a new plan to address the Greek debt crisis. This policy brief presents a simulation exercise that examines whether the new arrangements are likely to provide a sustainable solution. The analysis focuses on four key measures: gross debt relative to GDP; net debt relative to GDP; net interest payments relative to GDP; and amortization of medium-and long-term debt coming due during the year in question, relative to GDP. The new Greek package shows prospective future progress on all four measures, and Greek debt looks much more sustainable after the package than before. Debt also appears considerably more manageable if the criterion is net debt or interest burden rather than gross debt ratio, although even for gross debt the ratio is down substantially by 2020. It also becomes clear that the major contribution of the private-sector involvement (PSI) part of the package is in the form of sharply cutting amortization due, although by avoiding large new borrowing at crisis-level interest rates it also alleviates the interest burden that would otherwise occur.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Philip K. Verleger
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: When a boat springs a leak far from shore, it is customary for all hands to man the pumps—be they friends or enemies, passengers or crew. Every individual's survival depends on the actions of his or her compatriots. So it is with the global economy today.
  • Topic: Debt, Markets, Oil, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Teemu Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The electoral defeat suffered by the ruling Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español, PSOE) in the municipal elections and the prolonged financial crisis has forced Prime Minister Zapatero to call an early general election on 20 November. The Conservative People's Party (Partido Popular, PP) is ahead in the polls by a clear margin and is likely to gain an absolute majority in the parliament. The economic outlook for Spain looks bleak, which means that the new government will have to create new jobs quickly and push through harsh and unpopular reforms, particularly regarding the fiscal and administrative structures. The Indignados protest movement is gaining support, and looks set to challenge the legitimacy of the system and force the future government to produce speedy results. Spain is expected to enhance its role in international politics through pragmatic bilateral relations. In particular, relations with the US seem to be warming up, while Spain can turn to the UK and Poland in the EU for companionship
  • Topic: Debt, Democratization, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Spain
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The array of postbubble stresses and uncertainties identified in the January 2010 Economic Outlook (“The Year Ahead”) promised that the new year would see plenty of volatility in markets. That is exactly what is playing out as we move through the first quarter. As risks accumulate, it may be that 2010 is shaping up as a mirror image of 2009, reversing last year's down-then-up pattern with an up-then-down pattern this year.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: As EU leaders muddle through the eurozone crisis, the debate about its root causes continues. CEPS Director Daniel Gros argues in this Policy Brief that the debate is important if we are to understand how to prevent future crises. In his view, external debt is the key to the turmoil in European economies and that the focus on total public debt is therefore misleading.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Two years after the London G-20, CEPS Chief Executive Karel Lannoo finds that the EU is well advanced in delivering on the commitments made for the 2013 target date. Important steps have been taken on the institutional side, and regulatory changes are moving ahead. On some issues, in fact, such as remuneration, the EU has made even greater headway than the US. But certain key sensitive matters remain, such as bank resolution or structural changes.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, London
  • Author: Christian Kopf
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The pricing of sovereign credit risk is a necessary component of the financial architecture of the European Monetary Union. However, unnecessarily high and volatile risk premia on government bonds are currently preventing effective financial intermediation within the euro area, thereby inhibiting its economic recovery. Several proposals have been made on how these risk premia should be brought down, namely i) permanent pooling of funding through joint bond issuance, ii) temporary liquidity assistance through multilateral funds, iii) debt buybacks using multilateral funds, and iv) debt restructuring.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi, Fabrizia Peirce, Jacopo Carmassi
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In recent weeks pressures on the euro and eurozone sovereign debtors have subsided. Buoyant growth in the global economy, increasingly benefiting also the European economy, has of course played an important role in calming financial markets. But even more important has been the perception that France and Germany are again working constructively for a strong economic Europe. More broadly, the acute turbulence in financial markets since the spring of 2010 may have finally convinced our political leaders, notably including the German political establishment, that the benefits of a stable currency far outweigh the costs that may have to be borne to make it work properly. The euro will only be trusted if the member states effectively coordinate their economic policies not only to ensure fiscal stability, but also to eliminate persistent divergences in productivity leading to unsustainable imbalances between national savings and investment (Schäuble, 2011).
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Germany
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Thomas Mayer
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper proposes a two-step, market-based approach to debt reduction: · Step 1.The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) would offer holders of debt of the countries with an EFSF programme (probably Greece, Ireland and Portugal = GIP) an exchange into EFSF paper at the market price prior to their entry into an EFSF-funded programme. The offer would be valid for 90 days. Banks would be forced in the context of the ongoing stress tests to write down even their banking book and thus would have an incentive to accept the offer. · Step 2. Once the EFSF had acquired most of the GIP debt, it would assess debt sustainability country by country. a) If the market price discount at which it acquired the bonds is enough to ensure sustainability, the EFSF will write down the nominal value of its claims to this amount, provided the country agrees to additional adjustment efforts (and, in some cases, asset sales). b) If under a central scenario this discount is not enough to ensure sustainability, the EFSF might agree on a lower interest rate, but with GDP warrants to participate in the upside.
  • Topic: Debt, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: José M. Abad, Axel Löffler, Holger Zemanek
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the implications of a continued divergence of TARGET2 balances for monetary policy in the euro area. The accumulation of TARGET2 claims (liabilities) would make the ECB's liquidity management asymmetric once the TARGET2 claims in core countries have crowded out central bank credit in those regions. Then while providing scarce liquidity to banks in countries with TARGET2 liabilities, the ECB will need to absorb excess liquidity in countries with TARGET2 claims. We discuss three alternatives and their implications for absorbing excess liquidity in core regions: 1) using market-based measures might accelerate the capital flight from periphery to core countries and would add to the accumulation of risky assets by the EC B; 2) conducting non-mark et based measures, such as imposing differential (unremunerated) reserve requirements, would distort banking markets and would support the development of shadow banking; and 3) staying passive would lead to decreasing interest rates in core Europe entailing inflationary pressure and overinvestment in those regions and possibly future instability of the banking system.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christian Kopf
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: French commercial banks are proposing a swap of €85.5 billion in Greek government bonds maturing between 2011 and 2014 into a combination of new long-term Greek bonds with principal guarantee and cash payments. If this initiative were implemented under the proposed parameters, private creditors would only suffer a minimal haircut and official lenders would be provided with cash-flow relief of around €20 billion over the next three years, but the solvency of the Hellenic Republic would worsen significantly.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Diego Valiante
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Eurozone debt crisis has now reached a turning point. This paper argues for a more organised intervention by the ECB to stop contagion through the creation of a quantitative easing programme, coupled with a political agreement among member states on a more federalist budget for the Eurozone.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The biggest threat for the eurozone is the contagion of the Greek sovereign debt crisis to the rest of the system. If the Greek crisis could be isolated, it would barely matter for the eurozone as a whole. After countless crisis meetings of the European Council, however, it has to be admitted that the European leaders have failed to isolate the Greek crisis and to stop the forces of contagion. The latest meeting of the heads of state or government of the euro area on July 21st is no exception.
  • Topic: Debt, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Is a high level of public debt inherently more dangerous within a monetary union? During the 1990s it was often argued that only by entering the EMU could Italy (or Spain) protect itself from the high interest rates it had to pay on its large public debt. The argument was that by joining the single currency, Italy could convince financial markets that it would not inflate away the value of its debt and hence benefit from lower risk premia.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain, Italy
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: One positive effect of the euro crisis is that it has provoked Europe to engage in a profound debate on the form and degree of federalism it needs. Even if, until recently, many would have argued that Europe is not a federal state, the EU already has many elements of such a governance model in place, of which European citizens are hardly aware. Many competences are uniquely attributed to the EU. Legislation in several fields of EU competence can be adopted with a qualified majority of member states. Only in a few areas, such as taxation, is unanimity still required, even after the new Lisbon Treaty has come into effect. The same applies for changes to the EU Treaty itself.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Some eighteen months after the first Greek rescue (May 2010), there is little doubt that the multiple attempts at crisis management in the eurozone have failed to restore confidence. Indeed, following each round of emergency measures agreed by the eurozone summits, matters have turned for the worse (see Figure 1 for the widening spreads, over the German Bund, for sovereign borrowing in the eurozone). At the time of writing, contagion has spread beyond Spain and Italy to the core sovereigns, with France close to losing its triple A rating and even Germany experiencing partial failure in a Bund auction on November 23rd. Spreads are also opening up for Austria, Belgium, Finland and even the virtuous Netherlands. Meanwhile, the banking system Europe- wide is under increasing strain, with term funding all but closed for any bank with significant exposure to distressed sovereign debtors and the interbank market close to seizing up. Deposit withdrawals have surfaced in a number of large banks from the periphery. The euro has started to weaken in foreign exchange markets, narrowing the room for a distinction between eurozone debt crisis and euro-currency crisis from which some observers were until recently drawing comfort.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Persephone Economou, Margo Thomas
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The current Greek crisis raises the question of its impact on foreign direct investment (FDI) by Greece on its neighbors in the Balkans. Greek multinational enterprises (MNEs) first began to establish a presence there in the 1990s, following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. This trend accelerated during the past decade. As of 2009, Greece's outward FDI stock in the Balkans stood at US$ 10.5 billion or 26.5% of Greece's outward FDI stock worldwide.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Global Recession, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Yugoslavia, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: After protracted negotiations, Eurozone leaders finally agreed on a new package of measures last week. The outline deal has a three-pronged approach aimed at tackling the main aspects of the crisis: reducing Greece's debt burden, avoiding a credit crunch by recapitalising European banks, and preventing contagion to other countries via a boost to the EFSF.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Anna Maria Dyner
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Belarus faces a serious economic and financial crisis, which may have a significant impact on the political transformation of that country. Because of increases in living costs, which are part of the aftermath of the devaluation of the Belarusian ruble and rapidly rising inflation, an explosion of mass public protests is forecast for the autumn. However, it is not expected that the protests will bring about a rapid (pro-European) turn in the political situation in Belarus. Moreover, the weakness of the opposition, which after the presidential election of 2010 became even more divided than before and still has no charismatic leader, is not propitious to radical, pro-European changes.
  • Topic: Economics, Social Stratification, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia
  • Author: Onur Bayramoğlu
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: On April 2010, recently after the eruption of the Greek crisis, an unexpected hand from Turkey reached to Greece. Proud with his country's last decade growth figures, Turkey's then Vice Prime Minister, Ali Babacan, paid a visit to Greece in order to share his country's reform period after its 2000/1 crisis, arguing that it could also be a case study for Greece. In this brief, I analyzed Greek and Turkish financial crises. Although it is a mere fact that the structural problems in Greek economy complicate the reform period in Greece, there are certain lessons that Greeks can learn from the Turkish experience. As Turks did after 2001, they should see the crisis as an opportunity to overcome the long time problems . In this regard, Greeks first and foremost should establish consensus among themselves, signaling to the markets that they are ready to face the burdens of the reform period.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Political Economy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Central Asia, Turkey, Greece
  • Author: Julie Chon
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: When it comes to resolving financial crises, size matters, but so does transparency. In both the US and European crises, the drive for size—firing off enough public funds to plug the hole in the financial system—has proven to be self-defeating as markets raise ever higher, unrealistic, and inappropriate expectations for government policy. This strategy addresses some of the economics and none of the politics of crisis management. The race to meet the size test distracts policymakers from addressing the real impediment to restoring investor and public confidence: the inherent uncertainty and lack of transparency associated with extraordinary government actions in times of crisis. The absence of transparent decision-making inflicts a costly blow to the credibility of policymakers because markets and citizens cannot see or believe what leaders are doing to stabilize the financial system.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Uri Dadush, Vera Eidelman
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Great Recession included five major surprises: (1) the severity of the global trade and output collapse, (2) the United States suffered a milder than expected recession, (3) Europe saw the onset of a severe sovereign debt crisis, (4) China grew at an extraordinary rate even though it's greatly dependent on exports, and (5) Latin America showed remarkable resilience.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Stephen Grenville
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The 'carry trade', in which capital shifts from countries with low interest rates to countries with significantly higher rates, has become an important element of international capital flows over the past decade. With low interest rates in the United States, Japan, the UK and much of the rest of Europe expected to persist for some time, these flows seem likely to become larger in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis. Particularly for the emerging countries with shallow financial markets, interest-sensitive inflows have the potential to be disruptive. Exchange rates will tend to be overvalued for sustained periods, punctuated by sharp depreciations. These distorted and varying price signals will be unhelpful for good policy-making and steady economic growth.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Todd Moss, Sarah Jane Staats, Julia Barmeier
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The international financial institutions dramatically increased their lending in 2008–09 to help developing countries cope with the global financial crisis and support economic recovery. Today, these organizations are seeking billions of dollars in new funding. The IMF, which only a few years ago was losing clients and shedding staff, expanded by $750 billion last year. The World Bank and the four regional development banks for Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America are asking to increase their capital base by 30 to 200 percent. A general capital increase (GCI) for these development banks is an unusual request. A simultaneous GCI request is a once-in-a-generation occurrence.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis, World Bank
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Nicholas R. Lardy
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: China's policy response to the global financial and economic crisis was early, large, and well-designed. Although Chinese financial institutions had little exposure to the toxic financial assets that brought down many large Western investment banks and other financial firms, China's leadership recognized that its dependence on exports meant that it was acutely vulnerable to a global recession. Thus they did not subscribe to the view sometimes described as “decoupling,” the idea that Asian countries could passively weather the financial storm that originated in the United States and other advanced industrial economies. They understood that absent a vigorous policy response China inevitably would suffer from the backwash of a sharp economic slowdown in its largest export markets—the United States and Europe.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Nothing is easier than pointing fingers at policymakers woring feverishly at 2 a.m. to contain a rapidly spreading financial crisis. Rarely has this been truer for the European Union than during the current crisis's amateurish policy management. Yet, what really matters is the final result, which is far more postive for Europe than the ugly sausage-making process.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: So far so good for the European Union in preventing the Greek sovereign debt crisis from spiraling out of control in the short term. But with Greece in May 2010 requiring an unprecedented bailout from the European Union/IMF to avoid immediate default and 25 of the European Union's 27 member states currently subject to an “excessive deficit procedure” (European Commission 2010i), it remains evident that the European Union's existing fiscal surveillance framework patently failed both before and during the Great Recession and that Europe's leaders must head back to the drawing board for a required long term reform of the EU fiscal policy and surveillance framework.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Nicolas Véron
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In the context of a transatlantic comparison, the first thing to be mentioned is the difference between the time sequence of financial reforms in the European Union and its equivalent in the United States. The financial crisis started simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic, with the initial disruption of some financial market segments in August 2007 and the major panic episode of September through October 2008. But they are not at the same stage of policy reaction and especially regulatory reform now. At least four reasons can be identified for this difference.
  • Topic: Economics, Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: As Europe's financial market contagion spreads to systemically important eurozone members, the region is echoing with "end-game scenarios" (Johnson and Boone 2010) and demands for major new steps by European policymakers (Financial Times 2010). Among these would be a European "fiscal transfer union," a new common eurozone bond, action by the European Central Bank (ECB) to monetize sovereign debts, and finally a eurozone breakup itself.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: January ended on a note of diminished hope for a sustainable global recovery as stock markets retreated from their midmonth highs. Since mid-February, however, higher hopes for a sustainable global recovery have returned. Equity markets have rallied along with markets for corporate and global sovereign bonds. Some mitigation of perceived risks facing global investors has provided a chance for hope to “float up,” and it has done so. Tension over the cohesion of the European Monetary Union and, in particular, concerns over a possible sovereign-debt default by Greece have eased, and investors continue to hope that the debt problems in Greece will not spread to the rest of Europe.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: We can expect 2010 to be a volatile year. This likelihood is underscored by looking back at 2008 and 2009. Two thousand eight was a highly volatile year leading up to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September, which was followed by the risk of a total systemic meltdown. That sharp and obvious risk spike prompted massive policy responses that were simply the largest that central banks, with rate cuts and liquidity provision, and governments, with tax cuts and spending increases, could manage. The result—beginning in March 2009—was a linear rise in the prices of risky assets, the result of massive relief once the slip into a global depression had been averted and the acute phase of the crisis in the financial sector had passed.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Thomas Mayer
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Despite cobbling together an impressive $1 trillion rescue package for countries with potential funding problems, the threat of a disorderly default still looms over the eurozone, creating systemic financial instability at the EU and possibly global level. Against this background, Daniel Gros and Thomas Mayer renew their call for the creation of a European Monetary Fund (EMF) in an update to their Policy Brief issued in February.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Stefano Micossi, Paola Parascandolo
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: As a rule, multinational enterprises (MNEs) are taxed separately by the countries in which they operate on the basis of the income produced in each jurisdiction ('source' taxation). To this end, they must keep separate accounts for business units in each country (“separate accounting”, SA) ascribing each item of expenditure and income to each business unit on the basis – by universally accepted convention – of 'arm's-length' pricing (ALP), that is, of comparable or estimated prices for similar market transactions between unrelated companies.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Cinzia Alcidi
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This crisis was caused by a combination of asset price bubbles, mainly in the real estate sector, and a credit bubble that led to excessive leverage. This is wellknown. What is less well-known is that on both accounts the euro area was affected by both 'bubble' symptoms as much as the US.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Since 2003, the EU and the US have conducted a vibrant regulatory dialogue on financial regulation, but domestic priorities seem to have taken precedence in response to the financial crisis. This paper compares the institutional and regulatory changes occurring on both sides of the Atlantic. On the institutional side, it compares macro- and micro-prudential reforms. On the regulatory side, it compares four key areas: bank capital requirements, reform of the OTC derivative markets, and the regulation of credit ratings agencies and hedge funds. It concludes by highlighting certain implications for the regulatory dialogue.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Meeting Europe's 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth is even more of a challenge for the financial sector than for the EU as a whole. Smart, sustainable and inclusive growth is just the opposite of what the financial sector stood for, and how it continues to be perceived by the public. The huge regulatory agenda that is on the table should tame the financial sector, but whether it will help it to meet the Europe 2020 objectives is an open question (see European Commission, 2010a).
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: H. Onno Ruding
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Financial reform is needed now in the EU not only to reduce the likelihood of another financial crisis in the coming years but also to reinforce the internal market. A primary financial as well as political goal should be to create a truly single market in Europe for financial services and institutions. The current state of affairs is, however, still too far removed from this goal.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Thomas Mayer
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The case of Greece has ushered in the second phase of the financial crisis, namely that of sovereign default. Members of the euro area were supposed to be shielded from a financial market meltdown. But, after excess spending during the period of easy credit, several euro area members are now grappling with the implosion of credit-financed construction and consumption booms. Greece is the weakest of the weak links, given its high public debt (around 120% of GDP), compounded by a government budget deficit of almost 13% of GDP, a huge external deficit of 11% of GDP and the loss of credibility from its repeated cheating on budget reports.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The European asset management industry is feeling squeezed from all sides, as a result of growing prudential, product and conduct regulation. A new Directive, UCITS IV, has only just been enacted, and already new challenges are emerging in the regulation of hedge and venture capital funds, the review of the regulatory regime for depositaries (or financial custodians) and amendments to the MiFID Directive.2 In addition, a new European supervisory framework is in the making, which implies much stricter controls on enforcement. These changes are taking place in the context of one of the largest declines suffered by the industry in the last two decades, from which many fund managers have not yet recovered. The era of light regulation is thus definitely over.
  • Topic: Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Credit rating agencies (CRAs) continue to find themselves in the eye of the storm. Despite having singled out the industry early on in the financial crisis as needing more regulation, policy-makers seem not to be reassured by the measures that have been adopted in the meantime, and want to go further. Faced with a rapid downgrading in ratings in the context of the sovereign debt crisis, European Commissioner Michel Barnier raised the possibility last May of creating a new EU-level rating agency that would specialise in sovereign debt.
  • Topic: Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Cinzia Alcidi
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In June 2010, both the European Commission and the European Central Bank published documents containing ideas for enhancing European economic governance. Both proposals stress the need for stronger surveillance on a country-by-country basis and the effective enforcement of surveillance through incentives and a wider spectrum of sanctions.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Francesco Paolo Mongelli
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The headwinds facing the euro area are many and substantial: there is no pretence of denial. While most attention is correctly devoted to the size of rescue packages for some countries and the terms of crisis management and resolution mechanisms, we argue that these challenges must also be met from within the euro area. We are aided by a simple framework illustrating how the benefits the euro can generate depend on the degree of openness, flexibility and income correlation among euro area countries. Sharing the euro has steadily transformed euro area economies that are now deeply interconnected. This is generating largely benign effects that represent the intrinsic value of the euro area: it is a shared asset. Yet, such integration has provided the ground for the transmission of the sovereign crisis: through financial exposure, trade linkages and cross-country asset ownership.
  • Topic: Economics, Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christian Fahrholz, Cezary Wójcik
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Roger Ailes, a former advisor to Ronald Reagan, recalls in his book an intriguing practice of the ancient Romans: when they finished building a bridge or an arch, they enforced accountability by placing the engineer in charge beneath the construction when the scaffolding was removed. If the edifice did not hold, he was the first to know. We do not follow such drastic practices these days in Europe, but with some European economies shaking and the Greek sovereign debt crisis still not over, the architecture of the euro area has been certainly come under severe stress. Unfortunately, the 28-29 October 2010 European Council Summit has not made this architecture much safer.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Graeme P. Herd
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: In the wake of the global financial crisis, a debate over necessary policy responses morphed into something much more profound and fundamental – the sustainability of Russia's current governance model and its preferred longer-term modernization paradigm. On 10 September 2009 President Medvedev published a remarkably frank article entitled 'Russia, Forward!' This article noted that Russia's governance model appeared to be failing, proving vulnerable in the face of the global financial crisis. President Medvedev himself criticized Russia's 'humiliating' dependence on raw materials, as well as its 'inefficient economy, a semi-Soviet social sphere, an immature democracy, negative demographic trends, unstable Caucasus.' In his 12 November 2009 Message to the Federal Assembly, Medvedev elaborated further on this theme: Russia could either modernize or deteriorate; modernization would provide a touchstone for 'how we can overcome our chronic backwardness, dependence on raw materials exports, and corruption'. On 3 February 2010, the Institute for Contemporary Development (INSOR) published a report that received widespread coverage entitled 21st Century Russia: The Image of Tomorrow We Want. As President Medvedev had created INSOR in 2008 to give him independent advice on economic and foreign policy and sat as a trustee on its board, this report received widespread publicity. Such publicity was magnified as the report touched just about every exposed nerve by advocating that Russia should join NATO, end censorship, abolish the state security service, and adopt a Western-style democracy, entailing the separation of the courts from the state, of the legislative branch from the executive, horizontal modernization (characterized as the debureaucratization of the vertical top-down corrupt, over-regulated economic process)3. Without change, Russia faced a strategic cul de sac that leads to slow and steady strategic marginalization: 'In a few years, when it turns out that Russia has nothing to boast about except export supplies of raw materials at prices that are dictated to us, we will be exporting people. And, not only the cleverest like now, but any workers, who are in demand in Europe, as is happening today in Latvia, for example. I frankly do not know what Russia should do in this situation. This problem will be one of the main ones for the president who is elected in 2012
  • Topic: Democratization, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Latvia
  • Author: Igor Torbakov, Vadim Kononenko
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As the Kremlin believes that the global economic downturn is increasing the trend towards greater regionalism, the strategic conclusion is to strengthen Russia's position as the centre of its "own region" - post-Soviet Eurasia. In order to enhance its geopolitical posture in the ex-Soviet area, Russia has been pursuing a two- track policy: it is buying up assets from, and giving out loans to, its distressed neighbours on a massive scale. Several forces appear to be working at cross-purposes with the Kremlin's ambitions: 1) the state of Russia's own economic system; 2) the wiliness and cunning maneuvering of Moscow's "allies"; and 3) the growing competition on the part of the other centres of power - the European Union and China. Ultimately, the Kremlin's desperate efforts to turn Russia into a geopolitical leader of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are likely to be frustrated by Russia's lack of a coherent long-term strategy and by its socio-political system's dearth of appeal.
  • Topic: Globalization, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Max Watson
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Today's market turbulence and global imbalances prompt the question whether economic and regulatory policies are poorly designed or just badly implemented. The question is urgent for Europe, which has its own asset booms and imbalances to worry about as well as the backwash of US problems. The imbalances in Europe's economies in large part reflect favourable shocks, such as falling interest rates and growing financial integration. But the 'growth crisis' in Portugal underscores the fact that there can be hard landings, even without a financial crisis, if fiscal policy is unwise and if productivity fails to take off. The current global imbalances and turbulence also have a common backdrop in the long period of unusually easy liquidity and low risk premia during which today's problems built up. This suggests that central banks should be prepared more often to 'lean against the wind' in times of asset price exuberance, and that politicians should not cut taxes or boost spending permanently on the back of revenue gains that result from transient financial booms. Banks and supervisors have many lessons to draw. Some involve going 'back to basics' on issues such as liquidity, off-balance-sheet operations, and the ability to close and reopen banks. Others require a careful look at incentives – in executive pay, rating agency roles and loan production systems. Supervisors also need to take better account of boom-bust cycles when they assess risks, and address cross-border issues in EU banking. Moral hazard has been partly addressed by pain inflicted on bank managements and shareholders. But at the macro level it may be building up as policy-makers act to limit losses in a setting where they cannot trace the ultimate fallout from risks. In future, their discretionary interventions need to be truly exceptional and much more symmetrical, or the money supply and the public debt will ratchet up amid serious resource misallocation.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: For small financially active countries the exchange rate assumes particular importance, not only as a shock absorber, but potentially also as a source of shocks during financial market crises. This is very much in evidence today in the case of Iceland which is being hit hard by the recent turbulence in financial markets.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The paradigm that financial markets are efficient has provided the intellectual backbone for the deregulation of the banking sector since the 1980s, allowing universal banks to be fully involved in financial markets, and investment banks to become involved in traditional banking. There is now overwhelming evidence that financial markets are not efficient. Bubbles and crashes are an endemic feature of financial markets in capitalist countries. Thus, as a result of deregulation, the balance sheets of universal banks became fully exposed to these bubbles and crashes, undermining the stability of the banking system. The Basel approach to stabilise the banking system has as an implicit assumption that financial markets are efficient, allowing us to model the risks universal banks take and to compute the required capital ratios that will minimise this risk. I argue that this approach is unworkable because the risks that matter for universal banks are tail risks, associated with bubbles and crashes. These cannot be quantified. As a result, there is only one way out, and that is to return to narrow banking, a model that emerged after the previous large-scale banking crisis of the 1930s but that was discarded during the 1980s and 1990s under the influence of the efficient market paradigm.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe