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  • Author: Marek Dabrowski, Marta Dominguez-Jimenez, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Since the Euromaidan protests (2013-2014), Ukraine has had two presidents and four governments. In a difficult environment of external aggression, they have initiated various reforms aimed at bringing the country closer to the European Union and boosting growth. Progress has been partial and relies on international backing, with limited domestic appetite for reform.
  • Topic: Corruption, Privatization, Foreign Aid, Governance, Reform, European Union, Finance, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Maria Demertzis, Marta Dominguez-Jimenez, Annamaria Lusardi
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The concept of household financial fragility emerged in the United States after the 2007-2008 financial crisis. It grew out of the need to understand whether households’ lack of capacity to face shocks could itself become a source of financial instability.
  • Topic: Governance, European Union, Finance, Macroeconomics, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Maria Demertzis, André Sapir, Simone Tagliapietra, Guntram B. Wolff
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: 'Whatever it takes' needs to be the motto to preserve lives and reduce the impact on the economy of the epidemic.
  • Topic: Governance, Economy, Central Bank, Macroeconomics, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Rebecca Christie, Thomas Wieser
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: In the negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom over their future relationship, we see a high probability of a weak contractual outcome, given the dominance of politics over considerations of market efficiency.
  • Topic: Markets, Governance, Europe , Brexit, Negotiation, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Gregory Claeys
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: To keep the euro-area economy afloat, the European Central Bank has put in place a large number of measures since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. This response has triggered fears of a future increase in inflation. However, the ECB's new measures and the resulting increase in the size of its balance sheet, even if it were to be permanent, should not restrict its ability to achieve its price-stability mandate, within its legal obligations.
  • Topic: Governance, Central Bank, Macroeconomics, Judiciary, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alienor Cameron, Gregory Claeys, Catarina Midoes, Simone Tagliapietra
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: On 14 January 2020, the European Commission published its proposal for a Just Transition Mechanism, intended to provide support to territories facing serious socioeconomic challenges related to the transition towards climate neutrality. This brief provides an overview and a critical assessment of the first pillar of this Mechanism, the Just Transition Fund (JTF).
  • Topic: Climate Change, Governance, Budget, European Union, Macroeconomics, Renewable Energy, Transition
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marta Dominguez-Jimenez, Niclas Poitiers
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Most foreign direct investment into Russia originates in the European Union: European investors own between 55 percent and 75 percent of Russian FDI stock. This points to a Russian dependence on European investment, making the EU paramount for Russian medium-term growth. Even if we consider ‘phantom’ FDI that transits through Europe, the EU remains the primary investor in Russia. Most phantom FDI into Russia is believed to originate from Russia itself and thus is by construction not foreign.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Foreign Direct Investment, Governance, Sanctions, European Union, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Zsolt Darvas, Marta Dominguez-Jimenez, Guntram B. Wolff
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The European Central Bank’s November 2019 Financial Stability Review highlighted the risks to growth in an environment of global uncertainty. On the whole, the ECB report is comprehensive and covers the main risks to euro-area financial stability, we highlight issues that deserve more attention.
  • Topic: Governance, Finance, Central Bank, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Leonardo Cadamuro, Francesco Papadia
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: This Policy Contribution tests the hypothesis that an imbalance has grown in Europe over the last few decades because markets have integrated to a greater extent than European-level policymaking, potentially creating difficulties for the democratic process in managing the economy. This hypothesis has been put forward by several authors but not so far tested empirically.
  • Topic: Markets, Governance, Democracy, Regional Integration, Macroeconomics, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Vedran Dzihic
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP)
  • Abstract: The global COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken by governments around the world constitute a major rupture to the “business as usual”, and this includes the Western Balkans, too. The pandemic has been overshadowing other developments while also accelerating existing trends, and it will continue to do so. This analysis establishes the COVID-19 pandemic as a critical juncture, a crisis that can permanently shake up institutions and societies. There are considerable dangers beyond the impact of the pandemic on human lives, ranging from an economic crisis which could turn out to be worse than the one in 2008/9, to a heightened crisis of democracy and a geopolitical shift. None of these developments are inevitable and some of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for the Western Balkans can be mitigated. By exploring nine critical fields, this analysis will highlight ways in which the pandemic and government responses pose particular challenges: 1. The Role of the State, 2. Democracy and State Capture, 3. Geopolitical Shifts, 4. New Nationalisms, 5. Social Resilience, 6. Environmental Impact, 7. Migration and Health Care, 8. Health Care and Social Security and 9. Economic Implications. With regard to all of the critical fields, the study examines the impact and outlines possible risks and opportunities before identifying specific interventions that could prevent the worst consequences for the region. In its emergency response, the EU needs to include all Western Balkans countries in assistance and post-emergency reconstruction plans, irrespective of the status of their accession talks. The full inclusion of the region is essential so as to prevent dire economic consequences and geopolitical drift. Support to overcome post-crisis economic and social effects should be conditioned on measures to reduce state capture. The pandemic cannot be an excuse for an unlimited suspension of democracy and restrictions on civil liberties must be temporary, proportional and transparent. The EU needs to identify and monitor the restrictions concerning democratic institutions and civil liberties that are permissible during the state of emergency in the Western Balkans. After the pandemic, state-society relations need to be rebuilt and the states of the region need to prioritise communication and education of the population over excessive repression. The spread of fake news is best combatted by clear and open communication, not through restrictions and censorship. Vulnerable groups, such as the Roma, need to be given access to healthcare and be protected from discrimination. The environmental crisis in the region will not be resolved or even ameliorated and faces the risk of becoming sidelined in the interest of a quick economic recovery. The combination of reduced car traffic during the lockdown and the continued record-high lev- els of air pollution have exposed the urgency of decisive action in regulating heavy industry: many large factories keep violating environmental standards and endangering the citizens’ health. To address the economic and social consequences, governments should support SMEs in particular, while also securing food supply for vulnerable groups. Finally, a temporary universal basic income could help citizens who have lost their livelihood. There is both a short- and long-term need to improve the quality of hospitals in terms of equipment, adequate supplies of medication, and reducing overcrowding of acute hospital wards, along with a raise in wages for hospital staff to secure their retention. A joint approach by governments and EU member states is required to address the shortage of medical personnel due to emigration from the region, which puts an additional strain on health care. A careful mixture of short- and long-term measures is needed to prevent the pandemic from turning into an enduring disaster for the Western Balkans. The crisis has also given greater visibility to many structural weakness- es in the region, from the weak health care systems, low trust in the state, to weak democracy and state capture, while at the same time awakening civic consciousness and serving as a backdrop for increased solidarity among citizens. Putting a spotlight on the weaknesses can help tackle them and build more resilient societies.
  • Topic: Governance, Public Policy, Institutions, Services, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans