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  • Author: Viral V. Acharya, Sascha Steffen
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The eurozone is mired in a recession. In 2013, the GDP of all 17 eurozone countries fell by 0.5% and the outlook for 2014 shows considerable risks across the region. To stabilise the common currency area and its (partly insolvent) financial system, a eurozone banking union is being established. An important part of the banking union is the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), which will transfer the oversight of Europe's largest banks to the European Central Bank (ECB). Before the ECB takes over this responsibility, it plans to conduct an Asset Quality Review (AQR) in 2014, which will identify the capital shortfalls of these banks.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Nicu Popescu, Iana Dreyer
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Long ignored by the West, the Eurasian Customs Union (consisting of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) has recently been brought into the international limelight. The project – an attempt by the Kremlin to create a rival to the European Union and its Eastern Partnership project – attracted attention when Moscow, with its characteristic bluntness, began to pressure Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to join the grouping and drop their plans to sign Association Agreements with the EU. Although Russia has not succeeded in convincing all these states to join, it managed to do so with Armenia in September 2013, and the political tussle over the issue with Ukraine played a central role in triggering the country's current crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Daniel Fiott
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: While the crisis in Ukraine may contribute to a revision of defence expenditures in a number of European countries, the task of finding the right balance between cost-effective and strategicallyrelevant defence spending in Europe is still critical. As defence expenditure generally remains in decline across Europe, a range of innovative measures to ensure that defence budgets are spent more efficiently and effectively are being devised.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Rainer Geiger
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Launched in July 2013 by the European Union and the United States, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) represents an important effort to reach a comprehensive economic agreement between two major trading partners. As has been pointed out, the project offers great opportunities for liberalizing trade and investment and regulatory convergence. Its level of ambition implies high risks, but despite negotiators' initial optimism, its success is far from certain. This Perspective focuses on the project's investment chapter, drawing lessons from the failed negotiations on a Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), which was meant to consolidate the results of liberalization in the OECD area, establish new disciplines and introduce protection and dispute settlement.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America
  • 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: 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: Clémentine d'Oultremont
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Ensuring the sustainability, security and cost-competitiveness of energy supplies for the EU citizens are the main objectives of the EU climate and energy policy, which remains high on the EU agenda. The next European legislature will have the difficult task to reconcile these different objectives into a comprehensive 2030 framework for climate and energy policies.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Charles Secondat, Daisy Roterod, P.J. Goossens
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The German Constitutional Court (BVG) recently referred different questions to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling. They concern the legality of the European Central Bank's Outright Monetary Transaction mechanism created in 2012. Simultaneously, the German Court has threatened to disrupt the implementation of OTM in Germany if its very restrictive analysis is not validated by the European Court of Justice.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Bruno Tertrais
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In France, natural uranium is immediately associated with the relationship to African countries. Uranium has always fed rumours, fantasies and conspiracy theories set against the background of all the colourful stories of what is known in France as the "Françafrique"; the web of personal and economic relations between Paris and its former colonies.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, France