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  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Swedish economy has undergone impressive changes and has delivered a remarkable surge in productivity since the mid-1990s. Consequently, per capita incomes are slowly making up the ground lost in earlier decades. Labour market performance, however, has been less inspiring. Employment rates have yet to recover to their 1990 peaks and hours of work need to increase to support the welfare state.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Sweden
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: A modest recovery is under way. A recovery has been under way since early 2004 and is expected to proceed at a moderate pace in 2005 and 2006, with domestic demand continuing to rise faster than GDP. Real growth is projected to remain somewhat slower than the EU average. The gap in consumer price inflation is expected to widen again in 2006. The current-account deficit has increased and export market share losses were substantial until recently. Employment growth has been impressive throughout the slowdown, but the growth of productivity, including that of total factor productivity, has been very weak.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Spanish economy has enjoyed many years of brisk growth and has recovered swiftly from the recent international slowdown. Activity has been boosted by low interest rates and strong job creation, and underpinned by structural reforms and a sound fiscal policy. As a result, the income gap with the euro area steadily narrowed. However, tensions have arisen that could undermine the strong growth performance as inflation is relatively high, eroding competitiveness, while the surge in house prices does not yet show signs of abating. Also productivity gains have remained meagre and unemployment is still high.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The dominant challenge for Belgium in the years to come is to prepare for population ageing. This entails putting in place policies to attenuate its effects on economic growth and public finances. The few years left before large numbers of baby boomers retire provide a window of opportunity to push ahead with such policies and so preserve the essential elements of the system of social protection. First, further budget consolidation is required to put public finances on a sustainable path. Second, reforms are needed to increase employment rates, especially for the older working age-population, school leavers and ethnic minorities, and to slow the decline in working time. Finally, reforms are required to raise productivity growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Denmark has been near the top of the OECD's income rankings for many years. It has the most equal income distribution among member countries, partly because of its comprehensive welfare state. Given an ageing population, the key economic challenge is to maintain growth in living standards while preserving the welfare system. To achieve this, Denmark will need to raise labour supply and productivity growth. If they do not improve from here, the growth rate of per capita GDP will be dragged down to just ½ per cent per annum within a couple of decades.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Iceland's impressive economic performance has continued to show the benefits of the refocusing of policies on financial stabilisation and market liberalisation in the 1990s. The most recent recovery, which began in 2003, has been much more vigorous than expected, as buoyant household demand has reinforced the stimulatory effect of the large-scale aluminium-related investment projects underway. Imbalances in the economy – specifically, the large current account deficit and inflation pressures – have mounted and – with GDP growth averaging over 5% in 2004-06 – they may well be similar in size to those seen in the last overheating episode in 2000-01, which resulted in a mild recession. Limiting instability over the next few years is a demanding task for macroeconomic policymakers, and efforts underway in this regard need to be strengthened. There are also challenges for structural policies, notably with respect to the proper assessment of future investment projects and in the environ-mental area. In a longer-term perspective, sustaining the faster productivity growth that structural reforms in the 1990s have brought about will require further action, especially in the education and competition policy fields.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Danmark har i mange år ligget nær toppen på OECD's rangliste over BNP pr. indbygger. Danmark har den mest lige indkomstfordeling blandt medlemslandene, delvist so m følge af dets vidtfavnende velfærdsstat. I lyset af befolkningsaldringen er den primære økonomiske udfordring at fastholde væksten i levestandarden og samtidig bevare velfærdssystemet. For at opnå dette er det nødvendigt at øge arbejdsudbuddet og væksten i produktiviteten. Uden forbedringer på disse to områder vil væksten i BNP pr. indbygger fa lde til blot ½ procent om året i løbet af et par årtier.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark
  • Author: Jean-Pierre Casey, Jacques Pelkmans
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The SAPIR report (Sapir et al., 2003) is important for Europe. The justification of and search for higher economic growth in the EU ought to be on the very top of the EU agenda everywhere. Offering a very rich and useful survey of many issues related to European growth, or indeed the lack of it, the report's analysis is insightful and should be compulsory reading for policy-makers and political leaders. Sapir et al.'s policy recommendations are numerous and rightly touch economic as well as institutional aspects at EU level.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The last big wave of European and Japanese concern about a weak dollar came after the August 1971 breakdown of the Bretton Woods System of fixed exchange rates. At that time European countries feared inflation and, not wanting to support the dollar and thereby import U.S. inflation pressures, they accepted revaluation of their currencies with some misgivings because, as always, a weaker dollar meant more difficulty in competing with vigorous U.S. traded-goods companies.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Scott Wallsten
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Although success stories do exist, most high-technology cluster-development projects do little to enhance regional economic growth. The taxpayer costs for a wide array of tax incentives offered by politicians to corporations and research institutes as inducements to move facilities into their districts are rarely recouped, and often only wealthy organizations and developers benefit from the projects.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Desmond Lachman
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The Europeans who will nominate a new managing director for the International Monetary Fund should view their task as an opportunity to return the Fund's focus to exchange-rate issues and assistance of countries in fiscal crisis.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Reuel Marc Gerecht
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: At an alarmingly increasing frequency, westernized Muslims and converted Christians in Western Europe are joining radical Islamic organizations to wage jihad against the United States and its allies. These young Muslim males funnel continental anti-Americanism and the alienation of centuries-old Islamic struggle against the Christian West into full-fledged rage that threatens to divide Western allies who together withstood the advance of the Islamic empires during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Nicholas Eberstadt
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Russia, whose birth rates have declined and whose mortality rates have dramatically increased in the last several decades, faces a demographic crisis. Thus far, Russian political leaders have focused on trying to increase birth rates, but a greater sense of urgency must be applied to diminish mortality rates and to respond to health threats, including HIV/AIDS.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Radek Sikorski
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Although the American media seems to focus exclusively on American--and occasionally British--troops in Iraq, the coalition does include soldiers from Central and Eastern European nations, among others. The difficulties of forming ad hoc international coalitions for military operations, however, may lead the United States to rely in the future upon associations like NATO, which are already experienced in coordinating military operations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Overlooked in the victory of the pro-Kremlin party, United Russia, in the Duma election last December and President Vladimir Putin's overwhelming victory in the presidential election three months later was a milestone in Russia's post-Soviet political history: the precipitous decline of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF). The single largest faction in the Duma between 1995 and 2003, the KPRF was reduced to 12 percent of the party-list vote in the Duma poll while the Communist candidate for the presidency, who received 40 percent in the 1996 election and 24 percent in 2000, ended up with 14 percent.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Perhaps more than any other structural market reform unfolding today in Russia, pension privatization epitomizes both the enormous progress achieved over the past decade and the equally huge obstacles still ahead on the road to "civilized" liberal capitalism. The reform highlights and tests the quality of key institutions and instruments central to such a system: transparency and liquidity of banks and mutual funds, probity and competence of state regulatory agencies, and stability of equity and bond markets.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The Revolution had, indeed, two distinct phases: one in which the sole aim of the French nation seemed to be to make a clean sweep of the past; and a second, in which attempts were made to salvage fragments from the wreckage of the old order. For many of the laws and administrative methods which were suppressed in 1789 reappeared a few years later, much as some rivers after going underground re-emerge at another point, in new surroundings.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, France
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The December 7, 2003, election to the Russian parliament, the State Duma, has been portrayed in the U.S. media as mostly a product of the Kremlin's machinations. Its "administrative resources"--most importantly, its control of national television channels--are said to be almost entirely responsible for the winning performance of the "party of power," United Russia, which garnered 37 percent of the party-list vote among twenty-three parties and blocs on the ballot.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Frances G. Burwell, W. Bowman Cutter, Paula Stern, Peter S. Rashish
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The United States and the European Union maintain the world's largest and most significant economic relationship, which in turn is a foundation supporting the transatlantic political partnership. By some estimates, the transatlantic economy — including two-way trade and foreign affiliate sales — totals $2.5 trillion and is responsible for 14 million jobs in the United States and Europe. It is not just the scale of the transactions, however; the transatlantic economy is deeply interconnected through impressive levels of foreign direct investment in both directions. Together, the United States and the EU have been key players in managing the global economy through the World Trade Organization, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund. They have been responsible for the major accomplishments in international trade liberalization of the last 40 years, and have spurred the adoption of global standards in a wide range of sectors.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Stuart E. Eizenstat
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The 1990s saw a cascade of contentious sanctions legislation. Congress passed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, including an amendment to the Sovereign Immunities Act, which permits lawsuits against governments on the terrorism list – a major step in denying foreign governments normal immunity from suit in U.S. courts. The Iran–Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) was also passed in 1996, with the goal of discouraging third–country companies from investing in Iran or Libya. This sparked outrage from European countries, which objected to the act's “extra–territorial” reach, and from the European Union (EU) institutionally, which responded with a law barring any European company from complying with the legislation (and with similar provisions regarding Cuban trade under the controversial Helms–Burton Act).
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Following accession to the European Union the big issue for the Czech Republic is to strengthen growth prospects. Growth potential at present is somewhat above 3 per cent, implying a moderate pace of catch-up to living standards in the EU and elsewhere. There is room for greater ambition in growth performance, and it is welcome to see this reflected in the programme of the new Czech government. This Survey underscores four main challenges. Fiscal consolidation is the dominant challenge for macroeconomic policy, and is not only necessary to cope with ageing and to bring down the tax burden but is also needed to fulfil euro-area entry conditions. A welcome programme of fiscal reform has begun, including proposals for a system of multi-year aggregate spending ceilings and significant expenditure cuts. However, to date, mainly revenue-raising measures have been implemented while the full impact of expenditure measures is yet to be realised. The attempt to secure broad political consensus on pension reform is commendable, but it must be underscored that whatever reform is finally implemented, it will have to bring considerable fiscal savings. Health-care reform also has to deliver savings, but concrete proposals have yet to be made. To facilitate assessment of the true fiscal position, extra-budgetary funds need to be more fully integrated in mainstream government budgeting procedures. Also, with the further decentralisation of public services, the need for good budgeting practices and accountability in regional and municipal governments is all the more important. The Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance have formulated a transparent strategy for entering the euro area, that foresees minimising the time spent in ERM II. Annual reports will assess the economic conditions in relation to the Maastricht Criteria and a request to enter ERM II will only being made if the probability of a positive first assessment by the EU authorities is high. The choice of a 3 per cent inflation target for the run-up to euro entry is justifiable on medium-term grounds. However there may be some difficulty communicating the consistency of this target with the Maastricht criterion for price stability. The Czech authorities should therefore pay close attention to how the Maastricht criteria are interpreted and applied by the European Commission and the ECB and adjust their communication strategy accordingly. Most of the catch-up in living standards will have to come from boosting productivity growth. This means swifter re-allocation of resources across firms as well as stronger in-firm productivity growth. While the Czech Republic is a strong competitor for attracting foreign direct investment, policy towards poorly performing firms and business start-ups has problems, slowing down the exit and entry of firms. Bankruptcy procedures are cumbersome, often long and usually end up in liquidation, with asset stripping not uncommon. Reforms have long-since been planned, and it is welcome that new legislation looks finally set to go ahead. The legislation aims at strengthening the role of creditors, speeding up proceedings and allowing composition to play a bigger role. Likewise, efforts to streamline business registration are welcome and should be implemented as soon as possible. The general business climate is also damaged by issues in network industry competition, as some services, notably internet, are expensive in international comparison. Mobility between jobs and regions is weak. Administrative extensions of collective wage agreements, strict employment protection legislation (EPL) on individual dismissals, rent control, severe poverty traps (particularly for families) and a high tax wedge have contributed to considerable long-term unemployment. The Roma population is hit especially hard in this respect. Migration is to some extent mitigating the labour-market rigidities with Slovaks filling skilled vacancies and other eastern Europeans (mainly Ukrainians) taking up unskilled jobs that are unattractive for locals. Tackling the unemployment problem requires measures across a wide front, but most notably social benefit reform is needed along with reduction in the tax wedge as well as easing of EPL. The widespread social and economic exclusion of the Roma needs more attention, particularly in the education system. A more open immigration policy is needed to address immediate issues such as the inconsistency between granting work permits as well as for better alignment of immigrants' skills with those needed on the Czech labour market.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Czech Republic
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The transformation of the Finnish economy over the last decade represents one of the few examples of the "new economy" taking hold in Europe. Output and productivity growth over the second half of the 1990s was among the highest in the OECD, and the recovery from the global downturn has been much stronger than for the euro area as a whole. However, imminent population ageing threatens to expose weaknesses in the labour market. Demographic developments, which over past decades have been broadly neutral, could reduce the growth rate of GDP per capita by 1/4 of a percentage point per annum over the remainder of this decade and by almost 1 percentage point over the next decade. This, combined with the likelihood of smaller productivity gains in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, a continuation of falling ICT prices as well as the mediocre performance in the sheltered sectors, threatens the future growth of living standards. Within a decade, and in the absence of further policy changes, these developments together could imply that Finland not only loses its top performer status but could face a protracted period of slow growth, as illustrated in the following scenario.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Deregulating labour markets – for example making it easier for firms to hire and fire employees – is at the heart of the employment debate in many OECD countries. Laws on firing or layoffs and other employment protection regulations are thought by many to be a key factor in generating labour market "rigidity", as well as one reason for the large differences in labour market performance among OECD countries, notably between the United States and some of the larger European countries.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Convergence of the Portuguese economy toward the more advanced OECD economies seems to have halted in recent years, leaving a significant gap in per capita incomes. The proximate cause is low labour productivity, as employment rates across the board are substantially higher than the EU average. Nor is there a shortage of capital goods in aggregate. But capital equipment in the business sector is not always efficiently used or allocated, and new technologies are not readily adopted. Furthermore, the Portuguese labour force – even its younger members – have had less formal education than workers in other EU countries, including among the new entrants from Central and Eastern Europe, and workers in Portugal also have less access to training than in many other countries. Traditional Portuguese low value-added highly labourintensive products now face increasing competition from developing countries and from the new EU entrants.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: With the effects of adverse external shocks diminishing, a strong and competitive export industry is helping the German economy out of a three-year period of near stagnation. Domestic demand has been declining over the last couple of years, as poor labour market performance has weighed on consumer sentiment and business confidence. The labour market still suffers from weak economic growth and distorted incentives, with both contributing to problems in taking up work and providing employment. Productivity growth is not high enough to compensate for the adverse effect of low labour utilization on economic growth. Fiscal targets have been missed on account of both cyclical and structural factors. The government has launched a major reform initiative to reinvigorate economic growth. These reforms are welcome, have to be continued and need to be broadened further to reduce government debt, remove fiscal distortions, and improve incentives to supply and demand labour. Furthermore, there remains considerable scope to foster the creation of new enterprises and widen product market competition, thereby also maintaining the strong innovative capacity of the economy. The major challenges are to link fiscal consolidation to public sector reform and to increase the capacity of the economy to create employment and increase productivity growth. To create confidence and to restore Germany's traditional economic strength it is necessary that reforms reflect a coherent vision about the reorientation of economic policy – combining a growth and stability oriented macroeconomic policy with structural reforms – and are implemented according to a transparent and predictable roadmap.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Poland has made impressive progress in the transformation of its economy and the accession to the European Union on 1st May 2004 marks another historical event. It follows 15 years of profound change and accomplishment. More than 75 per cent of GDP is now produced in the private sector, the economy is well integrated with those of western European nations and inflation has been brought down to low levels. After an initial fall, output has been growing continuously for more than 10 years and, on average, Poles are much better off now than they were then. However, the striking drop in employment since 1998 is suggestive of serious remaining problems. To address these, much more needs to be done, notably in terms of raising productivity, expanding employment and increasing per capita income, which is 41 per cent of OECD levels.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The economic downturn in the Netherlands, like the boom that preceded it, has been more marked than in most other European countries. This is partly attributable to greater exposure to international trade, especially with the US, and to greater sensitivity to international stock price movements. But there are also some structural policies – pension fund regulation, housing and wage setting institutions – that have undermined economic efficiency and contributed to the amplitude of the cycle. Furthermore there has been a marked deterioration in public finances, part of which is structural. Longer term growth trends too are unfavourable. In view of these developments, the main challenges are to reform those policies that have reduced efficiency and increased volatility, put public finances on a sustainable path, and, most importantly, increase trend growth by increasing both employment and productivity.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Human Rights, International Organization, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Netherlands
  • Author: Alan Riley
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that the US Civil False Claims Act of 1986 (hereafter CFCA) could provide the European Community with a means to effectively protect the largely decentralised revenue collection and expenditure of the Community bud get. It also offers a solution to the difficulty of creating an effective means of investigation and penalisation of cross-border fraud without having to create a Community criminal law or a European Public Prosecutor.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Robert Litan, Richard Herring
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In 1999, after nearly twenty years of debate, the U.S. Congress finally passed legislation permitting bank affiliations with all sorts of other financial enterprises, and vice versa. In this step, the United States joined many other countries — especially in Europe and, more recently, Japan — in allowing the operation of financial conglomerates. But are financial conglomerates the wave of the future in finance? And if so, how are they to be regulated? These were the two central questions addressed in the fifth annual conference of the Brookings-Wharton Papers on Financial Services, an annual volume published by the Brookings Institution Press. The conference, held in October 2002 in Washington, D.C., convened financial services experts from around the world. The papers presented at the conference suggest, generally, that while the future may see more financial conglomerate activity than it has in the past, there still will be a role for specialist, or "monoline" financial companies. As for regulation, there is no settled model: some nations will pursue consolidated supervision, with authority over entire conglomerates vested in a single authority (often the central bank), while others will still regulate the pieces of diversified financial enterprises along structural lines.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington
  • Author: Peter B. Kenen, Ellen E. Meade
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In May 2004, ten countries are due to join the European Union. They are therefore obliged to join the European Monetary Union (EMU) and adopt the euro as their national currency. Most of them, moreover, have been eager to do that. None of them sought an opt-out of the sort that Britain and Denmark obtained in 1991, when the Maastricht Treaty was drafted. Membership in EMU is not automatic, however, because the accession countries must first satisfy the preconditions contained in the Maastricht Treaty. Although those preconditions are rigorous, and some of the accession countries are still far from meeting them, most of those countries have indicated that they want to enter EMU at the earliest possible date.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe, Denmark
  • Author: Allan H. Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: While Alan Greenspan and most analysts continue to discuss the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs since the Bush administration took office, the Labor Department Household Survey shows such claims to be either wrong or greatly exaggerated.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In the early morning of October 25, 2003, masked agents of the Russian security agency, the FSB, stormed the plane of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, CEO and principal owner of Russia's largest private oil company, YUKOS; arrested him; and conveyed him to a Moscow prison. He was charged with tax evasion, fraud, forgery, and embezzlement.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Simon Serfaty
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) have been significant institutional casualties of the war in Iraq. European heads of state and government who joined the coalition of the willing organized by President George W. Bush (with a decisive assist from Prime Minister Tony Blair) often did so in spite of significant opposition from their general public. States that gathered, vocally or passively, in the coalition of the unwilling (and even resentful) organized by President Jacques Chirac (with a decisive assist from Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder) did so at the expense of a Euro-Atlantic structure within which the states of Europe have gained unprecedented security, stability, and prosperity. As the first phase of the coalition's military action in Iraq comes to an end, the prevailing view in the United States is that the EU is a troubled and troubling union: troubled in terms of its internal divisions, and troubling in terms of the motivation that seems to underline the actions of its older members. As for NATO, the prevailing view is that it is a fading organization with a blocking minority of members who are not only unwilling but also broadly incapable and frankly irrelevant.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Felix G. Rohatyn, Jean-Paul Béchat
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On January 24, 2003, the CSIS Commission on Transatlantic Security and Industrial Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century, under the leadership of CSIS president and CEO John J. Hamre, released its final report, The Future of the Transatlantic Defense Community. Cochaired by Jean-Paul Béchat, chairman and CEO of SNECMA and president (in 2001-2002) of the European Association of Aerospace Industries (AECMA), and former U. S. ambassador to France Felix G. Rohatyn, this Commission consisted of 22 senior business leaders and former policymakers from both sides of the Atlantic. An Experts Group, directed by CSIS Europe Program director Simon Serfaty and composed of several representatives from the private and public sectors and academia, assisted the Commission in its work.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Entering its fifth year of existence, the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) has met major headwinds. At the advent of the single currency the euro area experienced solid economic growth, with unemployment falling and public finances rapidly improving. However, a number of structural problems were exposed with the cyclical downturn since 2001, from which the area is recovering only hesitantly. The challenges facing policy makers at present are both of a short-run and medium-run nature. Policy makers are currently grappling with sluggish demand. Responding to this challenge, monetary policy has been eased and fiscal policy reacted through the automatic stabilisers. However, the room for manoeuvre was reduced by lingering inflationary pressures and earlier insufficient fiscal adjustment in several member states. Meanwhile the euro exchange rate has appreciated significantly. Over the medium term, the Community has set ambitious targets and a vast programme for enhancing the performance of labour, product and financial markets. This programme needs to be pursued with vigour, thereby raising the odds of large gains in trend growth and jobs while making it easier to achieve sound fiscal positions.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: After several years of rapid expansion, the French economy has entered into a period of below potential growth, with a negative output gap opening up. Monetary conditions have been relaxed, while fiscal policy has eased excessively, provoking the European Commission to initiate an excessive deficit procedure. As uncertainty dissipates towards the middle of this year, the economy should pick up speed, reaching a growth rhythm of around 2 per cent in 2004. Nevertheless, over the medium term, in the absence of substantial reforms the ageing of the population risks threatening economic and fiscal equilibrium. Current pension and healthcare reform initiatives and plans to redress spending over the medium term go in the right direction. However, in order to ensure medium and long-term fiscal sustainability, additional policies to slow the expansion of health and pension spending are required, while efforts to raise employment rates and potential output are needed to improve the economy's ability to finance future ageing-related expenditure. Here, programmes that offer the possibility of on-the-job training should be expanded so as to reactivate young and lowskilled workers, while reforms to early-retirement schemes and the pension system need to be continued so as to restore work incentives for older workers. Ongoing tax and labour market reforms and policies to facilitate the development of high-tech and fast growing enterprises, which should help promote investment and higher productivity growth, also need to be pursued. The opening of the capital of stateowned enterprises and their eventual privatisation, and planned improvements to governance structures should help promote growth, but revenues from sell-offs ought to be used to reduce debt. Finally, in order to better manage the totality of public expenditures, the authorities need to implement reforms that can be used to ensure that all spending organisms contribute to controlling spending. Here, it will be necessary to implement mechanisms that would improve the effectiveness of measures to control healthcare spending. Moreover, decision-makers need to be more directly confronted with the long-term consequences of their actions. Initiatives such as decentralisation and the new budget framework law should help in this regard. Pursuit of reforms along all of these lines should permit society to meet the fiscal challenge posed by population ageing, while retaining high levels of service.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, France
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: An important obstacle to achieving environmental goals in many countries has been the failure to adequately address the associated financial issues: the costs of achieving goals; how those costs could be minimised; and the challenge of matching costs with available resources. The need for a fresh approach has become evident as central European countries come to terms with mobilising substantial financial resources to comply with challenging EU environmental requirements, and as the countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) struggle to maintain even the low levels of services currently delivered by environmentally-related infrastructure.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Central Asia, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Philip H. Gordon, Henri Barkey
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The resumption of negotiations between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders has led to renewed hopes that the divided island of Cyprus can be reunified ahead of its likely invitation to join the European Union (EU) in December 2002. In fact, however, there is no guarantee that the renewed talks will produce a deal. Americans and other interested observers should support the process and encourage the leaders to compromise. But they should also be prepared for a scenario in which the parties cannot overcome their differences and the EU extends an invitation to join that would only apply to the Greek portion of the island.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, Island
  • Author: Michael Mussa
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The global economic recovery is continuing but at a somewhat slower pace than was anticipated six months ago. Specifically, using the country weights from the IMF's World Economic Outlook, the forecast for real GDP growth in the world economy during 2002 (i.e., on a fourth-quarter-to-fourth-quarter basis) is cut by about half a percentage point to 3 percent—a pace that is slightly below my estimate of the potential growth rate for world GDP. This downward revision reflects primarily slower growth than earlier expected during the first half of 2002 in most industrial countries and the expectation that growth will remain somewhat more sluggish than earlier expected at least through year-end. For 2003, the forecast for global economic growth is also cut by about half a percentage point—to 4 percent—reflecting both general factors suggesting slightly weaker performance in many industrial and developing countries and the particular economic risks arising from possible military action against Iraq and from potential credit events affecting key developing countries. Despite these downward revisions, however, there is little doubt that the world economy will see significant improvement this year from the 1 percent growth recorded in 2001, and it is still reasonable to expect further improvement to a growth rate modestly above global potential during 2003.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Europe, Israel, Asia, South America, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Gary Hufbauer
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Some trade disputes—like long Russian novels—never seem to end. The United States, Europe, and other trading nations have disputed the taxation of export earnings since the 1970s. To understand why the Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) dispute is so hard to resolve, we must start with a historical tour.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The most interesting phenomenon on Russia's literary scene today is the popularity of the Erast Fandorin mysteries by Grigoriy Shalvovich Chkhartishvili, who writes as Boris Akunin.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Adam S. Albion
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: The triumph of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey's November 3 national election represents a significant opportunity to demonstrate both to the West and the Muslim world that it is possible for a democratic, Islamic party to effectively lead a modern secular state. Such a demonstration of the compatibility of Islam and democracy could produce a catalytic and strategically important effect among moderate Muslims throughout the world. The AKP seems to have recognized the importance of this opportunity by pledging to continue with much-needed political and economic reforms and EU integration efforts. The EU and the West must not let this opportunity pass them by; they must continue to encourage Turkey on its path to economic and political reform by establishing a concrete timeline towards EU membership and by helping Turkey to overcome its current financial crisis. Rejection by the West at this critical juncture could have very damaging effects, not only for Turkey, but for the viability of moderate Islamic parties throughout the Muslim world.
  • Topic: Economics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Stephen M. Massey
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Today, fewer than one in three Russian newborns is healthy, disease rates among Russian children are surging, and shrinking access to quality family planning and prenatal care has worsened the state of women's reproductive health across Russia. The health of Russia's infants and children is especially significant given the country's shrinking population and the mounting problems of infectious disease, rural poverty, illegal narcotics, and alcohol abuse – all contributing factors to poor birth outcomes. The long-term economic impact of unhealthy children born in the past decade is already a serious limiting factor to Russia's emergence as a strong economic partner and international actor. Many infant deaths and childhood illnesses could be prevented with expanded investments in infrastructure and education, improved access to quality care, and reform of Russia's healthcare sector – each of which is too costly for Russia to finance on its own. Untapped opportunities also exist for collaboration between Russian, European, and American civic groups, healthcare experts, scientists, and policy leaders that would have a positive impact on maternal and child health in Russia and beyond.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Robert Orttung
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Instability in Russia's southern regions poses a threat to the continuation of the country's overall political and economic reform, and to regional stability in Central Eurasia. These regions, which already possess Russia's most fragile local economics, face a variety of problems emanating from the weak and failing states to their immediate south. Most visibly, there is the threat of terrorism, an increasing flow of illegal narcotics from producers in Afghanistan, an influx of contraband goods that wipe out Russian jobs, and illegal immigration. With few resources and extensive corruption among key officials, Russia's southern regions are poorly equipped to deal with these problems. Developing mutually beneficial trade links between Russia's southern regions and its neighbors in Central Asia, China, and Mongolia can mitigate instability and economic stagnation in this region, help to rebuild regional economies, generate income, and better enable governments to provide security and basic human services to their people. The West can support these developments as well as help combat organized crime, target corruption, and improve border security.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, China, Europe, Mongolia, Asia
  • Author: Philip H. Gordon, Henri J. Barkey
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The landslide victory of an Islamic party in a Turkish election would hardly seem to be good news for Americans at anytime. Butwithwarlooming inIraq,Turkeytrying torecoverfromits worst financial crisis ever, emerging questions about European defense and NATO, Cyprus talks at a critical stage, and Ankara's application for membershipinthe EuropeanUnioninthe balance, the November3electoralvictory oftheJusticeand DevelopmentParty(AKP)probably struck many U.S. observers as the wrong outcome at the wrong time.
  • Topic: NATO, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Simon Serfaty, Christina Balis
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This past summer began with predictions of the return of a new conservative government in Germany and the alleged demise of Europe's left. The consecutive victories of leftwing parties in Sweden and Germany this month proved the fallacy of both predictions, while raising serious questions in Europe and the United States about the future course of German policies.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany, Sweden
  • Author: Simon Serfaty
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: One year ago, the two summits scheduled by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) for the end of 2002 were expected to start the final phase of the Euro-Atlantic vision: two institutions with overlapping sets of members engaged in missions that might not always be pursued in common but would always remain compatible in their goals and complementary in their methods. Instead, as the year has unfolded since September 11, that vision has become increasingly blurred. Now, there is a sense that the two sides of the Atlantic are drifting away from the lofty goals they set after World War II and during the Cold War, and sought to reassert after the Cold War. The relationship is not only said to be lacking coherence; it is also said to be losing its necessity, as Americans and Europeans no longer share values or even interests—and, even when they do, lose their commonalities in the increasing capabilities gap that divides them.
  • Topic: NATO, Cold War, Economics, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Simon Serfaty, Christina V. Balis, Pierre Messerlin, Chris Wiley
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The French elections held during the past eight weeks—first for the presidency and then for the National Assembly—were the most significant elections held in France since 1981. On the whole, their outcome is good for France, for Europe, and for the United States. They restore a political coherence that had been lacking during seven of the last nine years, when the French political system lived under the strained conditions of political cohabitation (1993–1995 and 1997–2002). Moreover, by renewing the primacy of the French presidency, these elections enable Jacques Chirac to assert his leadership during the decisive years that loom ahead for the European Union (EU), as well as for its relations with the United States within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Finally, these elections also confirm Europe's political drift to a center-right that the elections in Germany scheduled for September 23 are likely to make complete (Euro-Focus, September 15, 2002).
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, France
  • Author: Jennifer Lee, Simon Serfaty, Christina V. Balis
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Ten years after the target date for the completion of the European internal market, much remains to be desired in the area of common policies. The absence of a coherent EU tax policy, in particular, has been a continued obstacle. Yet, with the introduction of the euro and in view of the EU's anticipated enlargement (Euro-Focus, January 9, 2002), the timeline for addressing these deficiencies is shortening.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Simon Serfaty, Christina V. Balis, George Handy, Georgeta Pourchot
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: “More Europe in every area” may sound like an ill-chosen motto for a six-month presidency facing an already demanding and inflated agenda. It is reflective of a concern, however, not to expand the current list of priorities to new initiatives that would risk the fate of past abortive attempts. Avoiding new confrontations, while ensuring the smooth pursuit of ongoing reforms, has become Spain's principal goal during its presidency in the first half of 2002.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe