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  • Author: Mikkel Barslund, Matthias Busse
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The British economy has always been able to rely on a continuous inflow of high-skilled workers from the rest of the EU and the UK is currently home to over three million EU citizens and. As a result of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, however, the image of the UK in the eyes of foreign workers may have become tarnished. By using LinkedIn data, the authors of this study analyse the movements of IT professionals between the EU and the UK and thereby illustrate what is at stake for the UK, as exemplified by this particular ‘shortage sector’. LinkedIn data show that on an annual basis the UK gains over 6,000 IT experts more than it loses to the EU. Moreover, these mobile IT professionals tend to be much more qualified than domestic IT experts are. This reliance on the EU for IT recruitment – one in ten new hires comes from the EU – suggests that even if the UK is not aiming to restrict high-skilled immigration, curbing overall immigration could have unintended negative consequences for its capability to attract talented EU nationals in the future. The UK government should perhaps bear this in mind during negotiations with the EU27.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Exiting from unconventional monetary policies is now a key issue for central banks, and especially for the US Federal Reserve. This paper argues that the Fed already began this exit some time ago, and that the relevant part of its balance sheet has already shrunk by about one-quarter of GDP. Pursuing the current policy of reinvesting would lead to a full exit within ten years.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This was meant to be a Brexit election to strengthen the Prime Minister’s hand. The result was precisely the opposite. Her management of the Brexit process has become a long sequence of own goals: quit the customs union and single market; watch EU agencies relocate to the continent, including importantly for medicines and banking; banking jobs begin to relocate; science, research and academia see their interests harmed; the budget settlement prospect becomes a big new negative; the Irish border question threatens; immigration from the EU is already declining and various sectors from fruit-picking to the national health service are at risk. Moreover, the UK’s economic growth has slowed down and is now forecast to drop to 1% in 2018; the pound has lost 13% since the referendum; inflation is up; and consumer spending is down. The only solace available to Mrs May is that the Scots seem to be having second thoughts about independence. But this election was her biggest own goal yet. The credibility of her Brexit negotiation method is shattered. She thought the British people could be satisfied with slogans about “Brexit means Brexit”, or “getting the best deal for Britain”, and the now notorious “no deal is better than a bad deal”. Above all there was the failure to define and communicate a credible negotiation strategy. The Brexit White Paper of February 2017 contained serious contradictions, insisting that the UK should get ‘seamless’ market access while still leaving the customs union and the single market.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Political stability, Europe Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Britain
  • Author: Elspeth Guild
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The task of finding a solution to the legal status of non-British EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit is exercising the best minds in the European Union at the moment. As the European Council (Art. 50) guidelines for Brexit negotiations rightly underline, “The United Kingdom's decision to leave the Union creates significant uncertainties that have the potential to cause disruption,…Citizens who have built their lives on the basis of rights flowing from the British membership of the EU face the prospect of losing those rights”. These guidelines also place special emphasis on the priority to ensure reciprocal guarantees in safeguarding the rights derived from EU law of EU and UK citizens and their families affected by Brexit, effective from the date of withdrawal. The latest idea floating in the media is that the UK should naturalise the non-British EU nationals living there (possibly numbering 3 million) as British citizens. This solution has been commonly called “giving them all passports”, but for an individual to qualify for a passport, s/he must hold the nationality of the state of issuance. Is this a serious policy option? It is certainly original and has the benefit of shifting the burden of dealing with this question back onto the UK – enlarge your population and keep good relations with your neighbours. But there are at least four challenging questions that deserve careful consideration.
  • Topic: Citizenship, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: John Bruton
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper presents the testimony delivered by John Bruton, former Prime Minister of Ireland, on 27 April 2017, before the Seanad Special Committee on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. The Special Committee was established by the Seanad on February 27th to consider the implications of Brexit for Ireland. Mr Bruton began his testimony by commending the committee for its work and also the government for ensuring, through effective diplomacy, that the particular problems of Ireland have been publicly recognised in the negotiating positions of both the EU 27 and the UK.
  • Topic: Brexit
  • Political Geography: Ireland
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: A team of economists at CEPS was commissioned by the Policy Department on Economic and Scientific Policies for the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection to assess the likely economic impact of Brexit on EU27, together with some scenarios for the terms of the UK’s secession. For the EU 27, the losses were found to be virtually insignificant, and hardly noticeable in the aggregate. For the UK, however, the losses could be highly significant, with various estimates running up to ten times greater as a share of GDP. Impacts on some member states – in particular Ireland – and some sectors in the EU27 could be more pronounced than the average for the EU27. Michael Emerson is Associate Senior Research Fellow, Matthias Busse is Researcher, Mattia Di Salvo is Research Assistant, Daniel Gros is Director and Jacques Pelkmans is Senior Research Fellow – all at CEPS.
  • Topic: Economics, Brexit, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Milan Elkerbout
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement represents a setback for global climate action. But the damage will be felt more in political and diplomatic terms than in terms of climate policy or reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which depend at least in the near term on domestic climate policies. The election of Donald Trump and the strong Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress that accompanied his election immediately dispelled any hope that the US would implement or maintain ambitious climate policies. Indeed, in the first months of his Presidency, Trump signed an executive order to review (and thus likely roll back) President Obama’s landmark climate policy – the Clean Power Plan. The latter initiative aimed to reduce power-sector emissions by 32% by 2030 through federal legislation. Other US climate policies, such as vehicle standards and methane regulations, are also destined for the axe. Taken collectively, these measures will make it very difficult for the country to meet its Paris pledge of reducing GHG emissions by 26-28% by 2025 compared to 2005, even if another personality occupies the White House by 2021. 1 Improving fundamentals for renewable energy may still allow the US to reach its 2020 target of a 17% reduction in emissions compared to 2005. But the difference between this target and the formal pledge made by the US in Paris is roughly equal to the annual emissions of the entire transport sector in the EU.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: For years, the eurozone has been perceived as a disaster area, with discussions of the monetary union’s future often centred on a possible breakup. When the British voted to leave the European Union last year, they were driven partly by the perception of the eurozone as a dysfunctional and possibly unsalvageable project. Yet, lately, the eurozone has become the darling of financial markets – and for good reason. The discovery of the eurozone’s latent strength was long overdue. Indeed, the eurozone has been recovering from the crisis of 2011-12 for several years. On a per capita basis, its economic growth now outpaces that of the United States. The unemployment rate is also declining – more slowly than in the US, to be sure, but that partly reflects a divergence in labour-force participation trends.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mikkel Barslund
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: CEPS researchers Mikkel Barslund, Mehtap Akgüç, Nadzeya Laurentsyeva and Lars Ludolph are among the contributors to the 2017 MEDAM Assessment Report on Asylum and Migration Policies in Europe, produced by the Mercator Dialogue on Asylum and Migration (MEDAM). The report explores ways in which responsibility for refugees can be fairly distributed – globally and within the EU – and how we can curb irregular migration while expanding legal immigration to the benefit of all concerned. CEPS is one of three research institutes working on this multi-year project, alongside the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and the Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute. For more information on the MEDAM project, which is funded by Stiftung Mercator
  • Topic: Migration, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mikkel Barslund, Lars Ludolph
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that none of the secular trends that have driven down real interest rates over the past two decades is likely to reverse in the near future. Thus, real rates can be expected to remain low and government debt-servicing costs to decrease further over the coming years. Based on these findings, the authors calculate direct gains accruing to the Belgian government from lower net debt interest payments. The savings on interest payments are then contrasted with the projected future increases in age-related expenditures on pensions, education and long-term care. The findings indicate that, if savings on interest payments are channelled to cover the increases in age-related expenditures, they will fully offset financing needs in these areas until 2030. The calculations are robust to a moderate increase in interest rates.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Belgium
  • Author: Guillaume Van der Loo
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In an advisory referendum held in the Netherlands on April 6th, over 61% of the voters rejected the ratification of the Association Agreement (AA) between the EU and Ukraine. If the Dutch government were to act on the outcome of the referendum, which had a low turnout of 32%, an unprecedented situation would emerge in which an EU international agreement cannot enter into force because a member state is not in a position to ratify it. Although the political character of this referendum and the Dutch Advisory Referendum Act (DRA) and the geopolitical implications of the AA itself have already been the subject of heated discussions in the Netherlands and beyond, the legal implications of this referendum remain unclear.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Netherlands, European Union
  • Author: Matthias Busse, Mikkel Barslund, Joscha Schwarzwälder
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The right of free movement of persons is a cornerstone of the European Union and, according to a Eurobarometer survey, one of the most popular accomplishments of the EU. Since its establishment this right has been steadily built upon and expanded, in particular with respect to mobile EU workers. Barriers to (labour) mobility have been substantially reduced as part of creating the single market and also as a means to achieve the EU2020 goals of smart and inclusive growth. And yet the prevailing view in academic circles and among policy-makers is that intra-EU labour mobility is too low; too low to support the single labour market as anything but a notion and too low to play anything other than a modest role in helping to rebalance the eurozone after the crisis.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Willem Pieter De Groen
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The recent crises have shown that the eurozone countries' government debt is not immune to default. Applying a large-exposure requirement also to eurozone government debt would be a logical measure towards breaking the bank-government doom loop, given the low probability and high loss-given government default. But what would be the impact of the application of the large-exposure requirement on the banking sector as well as on government funding? This CEPS Policy Brief presents the results of a simulation exercise performed for 109 systemic banks in the eurozone, showing that their eurozone government debt portfolios would have to decrease by 3.2% or €63 billion, if a 50% of own-funds cap would be applied on large exposures. The eurozone central banks' demand for sovereign bonds under the extended asset purchase programme further creates momentum to start gradually implementing the restriction.
  • Author: Diego Valiante
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Evidence shows that financial integration in the euro area is retrenching at a quicker pace than outside the union. Home bias persists: Governments compete on funding costs by supporting 'their' banks with massive state aids, which distorts the playing field and feeds the risk-aversion loop. This situation intensifies friction in credit markets, thus hampering the transmission of monetary policies and, potentially, economic growth. This paper discusses the theoretical foundations of a banking union in a common currency area and the legal and economic aspects of EU responses. As a result, two remedies are proposed to deal with moral hazard in a common currency area: a common (unlimited) financial backstop to a privately funded recapitalisation/resolution fund and a blanket prohibition on state aids.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mikkel Barslund, Søren Arnberg
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper aims to estimate the crowding-out effect of the Danish mandatory labour market pension reforms begun in 1993 on the level of total household savings for renters. The effect is identified via a large panel of individual administrative records utilising the differences in speed, timing and sectoral coverage of the implementation of the reform in the period 1997 to 2005. Little substitutability was found between current mandatory labour market pension savings and private voluntary savings. Each euro paid into mandatory labour market pension accounts results in a reduction in private savings of approximately 0 to 30 cents, depending on age. This low rate of substitution is only, to a minor extent, explained by liquidity constraints. The results point to mandatory pension savings having a large effect on total household savings. Thus, pension reforms that introduce mandatory savings have macroeconomic implications.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Reform
  • Political Geography: Denmark
  • Author: Miroslav Beblavý, Marcela Veselkova
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In this Working Paper, based on nearly 20 papers produced by the Centre for European Policy Studies, Slovak Governance Institute and the Conference Board Europe, we examine whether the current trends in the areas of education and skills are pushing the European Union, towards convergence or polarisation. We cover a wide range of questions related to this main issue. No easy answers, but several cross-cutting messages emerged from the research. We demonstrated that there is increasing complexity in what a 'low-skilled' person is and how well (or poorly) s/he fares in the labour market. There are undoubtedly powerful forces pushing for more polarisation, particularly in the labour market. Our research confirmed that early childhood education plays an important role, and it also appears to be increasingly uncontested as a policy prescription. However, the other frequently emphasised remedy to inequality - less selection in secondary education, particularly later division of children into separate tracks - is more problematic. Its effectiveness depends on the country in question and the target group, while education systems are extremely difficult to shift even on a long-term basis. A different, more-nuanced type of warning to policy-makers is delivered in our research on returns to higher education by field of study, which showed hidden rationality in how students choose their major.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Clara Portela
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This study analyses the use by the European Union of the novel concept of 'targeted sanctions' in the framework of its Common Foreign and Security Policy. It examines two sets of sanctions regimes featuring different degrees of efficacy: in Myanmar and Zimbabwe, the EU wielded measures in support of human rights and democracy objectives in the absence of a United Nations mandate, while it supplemented UN sanctions to stop nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea. The study highlights a number of facilitators of, or hindrances to, the efficacy of sanctions, such as the degree of support by regional powers or the presence of UN legitimation. It concludes that the EU sanctions regimes could be optimised by using more robust measures, designing them on the basis of ex ante assessments, enabling faster upgrades, monitoring their impact and adjusting them regularly and improving outreach efforts.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, United Nations, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Arno Behrens, Jonas Teusch, Caroline Coulie
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper assesses the impact of decarbonisation of the energy sector on employment in Europe. Setting the stage for such an assessment, the paper provides an analysis of possible pathways to decarbonise Europe's energy system, taking into account EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2020 and 2050. It pays particular attention to various low-carbon technologies that could be deployed in different regions of the EU. It concludes that efficiency and renewables play a major role in any decarbonisation scenario and that the power sector is the main enabler for the transition to a low-carbon economy in Europe, despite rising electricity demand. The extent of the decline in the share of fossil fuels will largely depend on the existence of carbon capture and storage (CCS), which remains a major source of uncertainty.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Thomas Barnebeck Andersen, Nikolaj Malchow-Møller, Jens Nordvig
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Has inflation targeting (IT) conferred benefits in terms of economic growth on countries that followed this particular monetary policy strategy during the crisis period 2007-12? This paper answers this question in the affirmative. Countries with an IT monetary regime with flexible exchange rates weathered the crisis much better than countries with other monetary regimes, predominantly countries with fixed exchange rates. Part of this difference in growth performance reflects differences in export performance during the initial years of the crisis, which in turn can be explained by real exchange rate depreciations. However, IT seems also to confer other benefits on the countries above and beyond the effects from currency depreciation.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Denmark
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The EMS crisis of the 1990 s illustrated the importance of a lack of confidence in price or exchange rate stability, whereas the present crisis illustrates the importance of a lack of confidence in fiscal sustainability. Theoretically the difference between the two should be minor since, in terms of the real return to an investor, the loss of purchasing power can be the same when inflation is unexpectedly high, or when the nominal value of government debt is cut in a formal default. Experience has shown, however, that expropriation via a formal default is much more disruptive than via inflation.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Ansgar Belke, Anne Oeking, Ralph Setzer
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The significant gains in export market shares made in a number of vulnerable euro-area crisis countries have not been accompanied by an appropriate improvement in price competitiveness. This paper argues that, under certain conditions, firms consider export activity as a substitute for serving domestic demand. The strength of the link between domestic demand and exports is dependent on capacity constraints. Our econometric model for six euro-area countries suggests domestic demand pressure and capacity-constraint restrictions as additional variables of a properly specified export equation. As an innovation to the literature, we assess the empirical significance through the logistic and the exponential variant of the non-linear smooth transition regression model. We find that domestic demand developments are relevant for the short-run dynamics of exports in particular during more extreme stages of the business cycle. A strong substitutive relationship between domestic and foreign sales can most clearly be found for Spain, Portugal and Italy, providing evidence of the importance of sunk costs and hysteresis in international trade.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Since the announcement of the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) programme by Mario Draghi, President of the ECB, in 2012, the government bond spreads began a strong decline. This paper finds that most of this decline is due to the positive market sentiments that the OMT programme has triggered and is not related to underlying fundamentals, such as the debt-to-GDP ratios or the external debt position that have continued to increase in most countries. The authors even argue that the market's euphoria may have gone too far in taking into account the same market fundamentals. They conclude with some thoughts about the future governance of the OMT programme.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ana-Maria Fuertes, Elena Kalotychou, Orkun Saka
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Paul De Grauwe ' s fragility hypothesis states that member countries of a monetary union such as the eurozone are highly vulnerable to a self – fulfilling mechanism by which the efforts of investors to avoid losses from default can end up triggering the very default they fear. The authors test this hypothesis by applying an eclectic methodology to a time window around Mario Draghi ' s " whatever it takes " (to keep the eurozone on firm footing) pledge on 26 July 2012 . This pledge was soon followed by the announcement of the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) program me (the prospective and conditional purchase by the European Central Bank of sovereign bonds of eurozone countries having difficulty issuing debt) . The principal components of eurozone credit default swap spreads validate this choice of time frame . An event study reveals significant pre – announcement contagion emanating from Spain to Italy, Belgium, France and Austria. Furthermore, time – series regression confirms frequent clusters of large shocks affecting the credit default swap spreads of the four eurozone countries but solely during the pre – announcement period. The findings of this report support the fragility hypothesis for the eurozone and endorse the Outright Monetary Transactions programme.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Belgium, Italy
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the trade policy landscape of the EU and the wider Europe, with a focus on issues arising from the signature on 27 June 2014 of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) between the EU and three East European countries (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), and actual or prospective issues relating to the customs union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan (BRK), and the Eurasian Economic Union whose founding treaty was signed on 29 May 2014. While the contrived collision between these projects has tragically induced Russia to break all the established international security norms by waging war against Ukraine, the present paper deals essentially with trade policy issues. The huge expansion of intercontinental free trade area negotiations currently underway, in which the EU is an active participant alongside much of the Americas and Asia, stands in contrast with Russia's choice to restrict itself to the Eurasian Economic Union, which is only a marginal extension of its own economy. Alone among the major economies in the world, Russia does not seek to integrate economically with any major economic bloc, which should be a matter of serious concern for Moscow. Within the wider Europe, the EU's DCFTAs with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are a major new development, but Russia now threatens trade sanctions against Ukraine in particular, the economic case for which seems unfounded and whose unilateral application would also impair the customs union. The Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan customs union itself poses several issues of compatibility with the rules of the WTO, which in turn are viewed by the EU as an impediment to discussing possible free trade scenarios with the customs union, although currently there are far more fundamental political impediments to any consideration of such ideas. Nonetheless this paper looks at various long-term scenarios, if only as a reminder that there could be much better alternatives to the present context of conflict around Ukraine.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Europe, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Asia, Georgia
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the trade policy landscape of the EU and the wider Europe, with a focus on issues arising from the signature on 27 June 2014 of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) between the EU and three East European countries (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), and actual or prospective issues relating to the customs union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan (BRK), and the Eurasian Economic Union whose founding treaty was signed on 29 May 2014. While the contrived collision between these projects has tragically induced Russia to break all the established international security norms by waging war against Ukraine , the present paper deals essentially with trade policy issues . The huge expansion of intercontinental free trade area negotiation s currently underway, in which the EU is an active participant alongside much of the Americas and Asia, stands in contrast with Russia's choice to restrict itself to the Eurasian Economic Union, which is only a marginal extension of its own economy. Alone among the major economies in the world, Russia does not seek to integrate economically with any major economic bloc, which should be a matter of serious concern for Moscow. Within the wider Europe, the EU's DCFTAs with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are a major new development, but Russia now threatens trade sanctions against Ukraine in particular, the economic case for which seems unfounded and whose unilateral application would also impair the customs union. The Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan customs union itself poses several issues of compatibility with the rules of the WTO, which in turn are viewed by the EU as an impediment to discussing possible free trade scenarios with the customs union, although currently there are far more fundamental political impediments to any consideration of such ideas. Nonetheless this paper looks at various long-term scenarios, if only as a reminder that there could be much better alternatives to the present context of conflict around Ukraine.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Ansgar Belke, Timo Baas
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Member countries of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) initiated wide-ranging labour market reforms in the last decade. This process is ongoing as countries that are faced with serious labour market imbalances perceive reforms as the fastest way to restore competitiveness within a currency union. This fosters fears among observers about a beggar-thy-neighbour policy that leaves non-reforming countries with a loss in competitiveness and an increase in foreign debt. Using a two-country, two-sector search and matching DSGE model, we analyse the impact of labour market reforms on the transmission of macroeconomic shocks in both non-reforming and reforming countries. By analysing the impact of reforms on foreign debt, we contribute to the debate on whether labour market reforms increase or reduce current account imbalances.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Politics, Labor Issues, Reform
  • Author: Ilaria Maselli, Miroslav Beblavý
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: There is a general consensus that to achieve employment growth, especially for vulnerable groups, it is not enough to kick-start economic growth. It is also essential to improve the s kills among both the high-and low-skilled population.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Science and Technology, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe, Somalia
  • Author: Ilaria Maselli, Miroslav Beblavý
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Tackling the high and increasing unemployment rate ranks at the top of the EU policy agenda, especially with regard to young people. There is a general consensus that to achieve employment growth, especially for vulnerable groups, it is not enough to kick-start economic growth - skills among both the high-and low-skilled population also need to be improved. However, we need to move beyond simplified narratives and generic policies in order to better understand a much-debated and lamented phenomenon : the lack of graduates in subjects related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
  • Topic: Education, Science and Technology, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Rym Ayadi, Willem Pieter De Groen
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Arab Spring, which took root in Tunisia and Egypt in the beginning of 2011 and gradually spread to other countries in the southern Mediterranean, highlighted the importance of private-sector development, job creation, improved governance and a more equitable distribution of economic opportunities. The developments led to domestic and international demands on the governments in the region to implement the reforms needed to enhance business and investment conditions, modernise their economies and support the development of enterprises.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Social Movement, Reform
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Viral V. Acharya, Sascha Steffen
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The eurozone is mired in a recession. In 2013, the GDP of all 17 eurozone countries fell by 0.5% and the outlook for 2014 shows considerable risks across the region. To stabilise the common currency area and its (partly insolvent) financial system, a eurozone banking union is being established. An important part of the banking union is the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), which will transfer the oversight of Europe's largest banks to the European Central Bank (ECB). Before the ECB takes over this responsibility, it plans to conduct an Asset Quality Review (AQR) in 2014, which will identify the capital shortfalls of these banks.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Steven Blockmans, Luigi Scazzieri
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: On January 20th, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran had been implementing its commitments as part of the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) agreed by the E3+3 in Geneva on November 24th of last year. In particular, the Agency confirmed that Iran had not installed new centrifuges, that it had stopped enriching uranium above 5%, that it had disabled connections between cascades being used to enrich up to 20%, and that it had begun the process of diluting half of its stockpile of 20%, while the other half is to be converted to oxide over the next six months. Over the next six months, the IAEA will continue to monitor Iranian enrichment, and activities at Arak, Fordow and Natanz. Immediately following the IAEA announcement, the US and EU suspended some of the sanctions currently imposed on Iran. Sanctions relief, quantified at $7 billion, comprises both the suspension of some sanctions and the repatriation of $4.2 billion of oil revenues in tranches.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Cooperation, International Organization, Treaties and Agreements, International Security, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Steven Blockmans
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Concerns about the deterioration of democracy in Turkey are not new: the trials over the 2003 „ Sledgehammer ‟ alleged coup plan (2010-12) and over the ‟ Ergenekon ‟ secret organisation (2008-13) broke the military‟s influence over politics, but were widely criticised because of their reliance on secret witnesses and disputes over evidence. Ironically, their outcome has recently been challenged by Prime Minister Erdoğan himself, who has disowned the trials now that the judiciary has the AK Party in its sights. International concern was also stirred by the violent crackdown on the countrywide protests of May/June 2013. Unrest then was triggered by the planned redevelopment of Istanbul‟s Gezi Park in May 2013, but developed into a wider movement critical of government corruption, increasing restrictions on freedom of speech and concerns about the erosion of secularism. Protests simmered on through September, winding down in autumn and winter only to reignite in March of this year.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Stefano Micossi, Ginevra Bruzzone, Miriam Cassella
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In July 2013, the European Commission adopted a new Banking Communication – the seventh since the start of the financial crisis – updating its criteria for the evaluation of state aid in the banking sector in response to the evolving economic and institutional environment. Under this Communication, any credit institution in need of recapitalisation or 'impaired asset' measures will be required, prior to any further action, to submit a plan for restructuring or the orderly winding down the bank. Moreover, whenever there is a capital shortfall, the Commission will require that, prior to any injection of public funds, not only shareholders – as has been the case so far – but also junior creditors write down or convert into equity their claims on the bank, regardless of whether the bank is under resolution, in order to minimise the need for state aid.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi, Fabrizia Peirce
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The policy debate about how best to restore growth in the flagging eurozone economy has been plagued by demands from some highly indebted member countries that the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) be loosened to leave greater room to support the economy with budgetary instruments. These demands have been met with an instant rebuff from the Commission and other financially solid members who argue that loosening the Pact would do little to restore sound growth. This question has also hindered the broader discussion on the need for and content of a renewed growth strategy for the eurozone and the European Union, no least by fuelling fresh mistrust among their member states.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Steven Blockmans
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine has unleashed a storm of grief and anger in the EU and around the world. Heads of state and government have joined the public outcry and called for tough action against those directly and indirectly responsible for this heinous crime. The EU's reaction, however, has been lame so far by comparison.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Territorial Disputes, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Willem Pieter De Groen
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Comprehensive Assessment conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB) representsa considerable step forward in enhancing transparency ineuro-area banks' balance sheets. The most notable progress since the previous European stress test has been the hamonisation of the definition of non-performing loans and other concepts as well as uncovering hidden losses, which resulted in a €34 billion aggregate capital-chargenet of tax. Despite this tightening,most banks were able to meet the 5.5% common equity tier 1 (CET1) threshold applied in the test, whichsuggests that the large majority of the euro-area banks have improvedtheir financial position sufficiently to no longer constrainthem in financing the economy.Our own estimation based on the detailed results, however,provide a more nuanced picture, with a large numberof the banks still highly leveraged and in many cases unable to meet the regulatory capital requirementsthat will be introduced in the coming years underthe adverse stress test scenario.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Global Recession
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Erwan Fouéré
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: It is a damning reflection of our times that one of the EU's most successful foreign policy achievements has never been under so much criticism. During the recent elections for the European Parliament, populist eurosceptic parties were in the forefront of those campaigning against the EU's enlargement agenda. Their attempts at equating further enlargement with the dangers of increased immigration from Turkey, the Western Balkans and even other EU member states were bolstered by the leaders of some long-standing member states, such as the UK, openly calling for restrictions on freedom of movement — one of the fundamental pillars of the EU.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Balkans
  • Author: Jacques Pelkmans, Weinian Hu
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This CEPS Policy Brief is based on a larger study for the EEAS and European Commission, written by the same authors in the run-up of the Milan ASEM summit of 16-17 October 2014. The main idea of the study is to assess whether ASEM works and how, by verifying the factual evidence in detail. After all, ASEM has no institutions, no budget and no treaty, whilst dialogues and a loose improvement over time in Asia-Europe relations refer to process much more than genuine 'results'. The stocktaking covers all ASEM activities since the 2006 Helsinki summit. Summit and foreign ministers' declarations and ASEM calendar of activities (and interviews) are used to trace ASEM activities in the three ASEM pillars (political, economic, and peoples-to-peoples/cultural). All the 'regular' ASEM meetings at ministerial and other levels (many of which are only known to relatively few) have been mapped. Also the ASEM working methods, based on the 2000AECF framework and many subsequent initiatives, have been scrutinised, including whether they are actually implemented or not or partially. Such methods refer to how to work together in areas of cooperation (beyond the typical ASEM dialogue), organisation, coordination and ASEM visibility.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Singapore
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Denis Cenusa, Tamara Kovziridse, Veronika Movchan
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: While EU and US sanctions against Russia over its aggression in Ukraine, and Russia's counter-sanctions, are much discussed due to their evident political significance, less attention has been given to Russia's punitive sanctions against the three Eastern European states – Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia – that have signed with the EU Association Agreements (AA), which include Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) provisions. This paper therefore documents these trade policy restrictions and embargoes imposed by Russia, and provides some first indications of their impact. The immediate impact on trade flows, especially for agri-food products, has been substantial, albeit with some leakage through Belarus. The main instrument for the Russian measures has been allegations of non-conformity with Russian technical standards, although the correlation of these allegations with movements in Russia's geopolitical postures makes it obvious that the Russian technical agencies are following political guidelines dressed up as scientific evidence. These measures also push the three states into diversifying their trade marketing efforts in favour of the EU and other world markets, with Georgia already having taken significant steps in this direction, since in its case the Russian sanctions date back to 2006. In the case of Ukraine, Russia's threat to cancel CIS free trade preferences infiltrated trilateral talks between the EU, Ukraine and Russia, leading on 12 September to their proposed postponement until the end of 2015 of the 'provisional' implementation of a large part of the AA/DCFTA. This was immediately followed on 16 September by ratification of the AA/DCFTA by both the Rada in Kyiv and the European Parliament, which will lead to its full and definitive entry into force when the 28 EU member states have also ratified it. However Putin followed the day after with a letter to Poroshenko making an abusive interpretation of the 12 September understanding.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Power Politics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The mantra in Brussels and all over Europe is that investment holds the key to recovery in the euro area. A central element of the new Commission's economic strategy is a proposed programme of investment of €300 billion.The emphasis on investment is not new, but has grown in strength as the euro area seems stuck in a never-ending recession.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jørgen Mortensen
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper first takes a step backwards with an attempt to situate the recent adoption of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union in the context of discussions on the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) and the 'Maastricht criteria', as fixed in the Maastricht Treaty for membership in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in a longer perspective of the sharing of competences for macroeconomic policy-making within the EU. It then presents the main features of the new so-called 'Fiscal Compact' and its relationship to the SGP and draws some conclusions as regards the importance and relevance of this new step in the process of economic policy coordination. It concludes that the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union does not seem to offer a definitive solution to the problem of finding the appropriate budgetary-monetary policy mix in EMU, which was already well identified in the Delors report in 1989 and regularly emphasised ever since and is now seriously aggravated due to the crisis in the eurozone. Furthermore, implementation of this Treaty may under certain circumstances contribute to an increase in the uncertainties as regards the distribution of the competences between the European Parliament and national parliaments and between the former and the Commission and the Council.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Anna-Elisabeth Thum, Miroslav Beblavý, Galina Potjagailo
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Adult learning is seen as a key factor for enhancing employment, innovation and growth, and it should concern all age cohorts. The aim of this paper is to understand the points in the life cycle at which adult learning takes place and whether it leads to reaching a medium or high level of educational attainment. To this end we perform a synthetic panel analysis of adult learning for cohorts aged 25 to 64 in 27 European countries using the European Labour Force Survey. We find, as previous results suggest, that a rise in educational attainment as well as participation in education and training happens mostly at the age range of 25-29. However, investment across the life cycle by cohorts older than 25 still occurs: in most countries in our sample, participation in education and training as well as educational attainment increases observably across all cohorts. We also find that the decline with age slows down or is even reversed for older cohorts, for both participation in education and educational attainment. Finally, we can identify a Nordic model in which adult learning is achieved through participation in education and training, a Central European model in which adult learning occurs in the form of increasing educational attainment and a liberal model in which both approaches to adult learning are observable.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Giovanni Grevi
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The international system is changing fast and both the European Union and Brazil will need to adapt. This paper argues that such a process of adjustment may bring the two closer together, even if their starting points differ considerably. Europe looks at the ongoing redistribution of power as a challenge, Brazil as an opportunity. Europe is coping with the detrimental impact of the economic crisis on its international profile; Brazil is enhancing its influence in its region and beyond. Their normative outlook is broadly compatible; their political priorities and behaviour in multilateral frameworks often differ, from trade to development and security issues. Despite the crisis, however, there are signals of renewed engagement by the EU on the international stage, with a focus on its troubled neighbourhood and partnerships with the US and large emerging actors such as Brazil. The latter is charting an original course in international affairs as a rising democratic power from the traditional South with no geopolitical opponents and a commitment to multilateralism. In testing the limits of its international influence, Brazil will need dependable partners and variable coalitions that go well beyond the BRICS format, which is not necessarily sustainable. This contribution suggests that the strategic partnership between the EU and Brazil may grow stronger not only as a platform to deepen economic ties and sustain growth, but also as a tool to foster cooperation in political and security affairs including crisis management, preventive diplomacy and human rights.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Mikkel Barslund, Thomas Barnebeck Andersen, Casper Worm Hansen, Thomas Harr, Peter Sandholt Jensen
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This Working Document provides an estimate of China's impact on the growth rate of resource-rich countries since its WTO accession in December 2001. The authors' empirical approach follows the logic of the differences-in-differences estimator. In addition to temporal variation arising from the WTO accession, which they argue was exogenous to other countries' growth trajectories, the authors exploit spatial variation arising from differences in natural resource wealth. In this way they can compare changes in economic growth in the pre- and post-accession periods between countries that benefited from the surge in demand for industrial commodities brought about by China's WTO accession and countries that were less able to do so. They find that that roughly one-tenth of the average annual post-accession growth in resource-rich countries was due to China's increased appetite for commodities. The authors use this finding to inform the debate about what will happen to economic growth in resource-rich countries as China rebalances and its demand for commodities weakens.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Anna-Elisabeth Thum, Marten von Werder
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This report reviews national and private initiatives to allow the elderly to continue their participation in the Finnish labour market and provides an analysis of the labour market and living conditions of seniors. We are interested in how those over 50 can be engaged in various forms of employment and lifelong learning. We find strong evidence that Finland generally provides good institutional conditions for active ageing. The quick and early ageing process was tackled by the fundamental pension reform that already prolonged retirement substantially and will probably facilitate later retirement as the attitudes concerning retirement change. On the other hand, Finland still seems to lack behind the other Nordic welfare states, has considerable problems in providing the same health conditions to low educated people in physically demanding occupations and could - with respect to family pension in particular - invest further effort in reforming the pension system. While many of the reforms Finland has conducted seem to be favourable and transferable to other European countries that still face the steepest phases of ageing in their societies, a reluctance towards changing attitudes that we observe in Finland, shows that organizing active ageing is a long-term project.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Health, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland
  • Author: Anna-Elisabeth Thum, Nicolas Contreras, Elisa Martellucci
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This report aims at understanding how persons aged 50 years and older are and can be integrated into the working society in Belgium. We are interested in how people in this age group can be induced to engage in various forms of employment and lifelong learning. Based on secondary literature, descriptive databases as well as interviews with experts and focus groups, we find that the discussion on active ageing in Belgium is well advanced with numerous contributions by academics, stakeholders, social partners, the public administration and interest groups. The wish to retire at 60 is widely shared but at the same time the majority of Belgium's elderly are able and would be willing to work under specific conditions. Therefore, we recommend that Belgium should invest in more flexible systems including a revision of the tax scheme, such as the part-time retirement system proposed by the insurance company Delta Lloyd. An equally relevant recommendation would be to ensure that public employment agencies, employers and agencies that provide training encourage all workers to work and learn regardless of their age.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe, Belgium
  • Author: Bernard Delbecque
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that it should be possible to complement Europe's Economic and Monetary Union with an insurance-type shock absorption mechanism to increase the resilience of member countries to economic shocks and reduce output volatility. Such a mechanism would neither require the establishment of a central authority, nor would it lead to permanent transfers between countries. For this mechanism to become a reality, however, it would be necessary to overcome certain technical problems linked to the difficulty of anticipating correctly the position of an economy in the business cycle.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Hrant Kostanyan, Bruno Vandecasteele
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Besides the Eastern Partnership's (EaP) bilateral and multilateral framework and the Civil Society Forum, the European Union (EU) engages with the EaP countries – Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan – through multilateral parliamentary cooperation, namely within the EuroNest Parliamentary Assembly (EuroNest PA).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Armenia, Belarus
  • Author: Erwan Fouéré
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Macedonia is a country in deep trouble. Under a veneer of normality lies a climate of deep mistrust between all the political parties and between the main ethnic communities. Several incidents of inter-ethnic violence took place in the capital city earlier this year and are on the increase. Political dialogue, insofar as it exists between the parties, remains confrontational.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Corruption, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Bernard Delbecque
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that it should be possible to complement Europe's Economic and Monetary Union with an insurance-type shock absorption mechanism to increase the resilience of member countries to economic shocks and reduce output volatility. Such a mechanism would neither require the establishment of a central authority, nor would it lead to permanent transfers between countries. For this mechanism to become a reality, however, it would be necessary to overcome certain technical problems linked to the difficulty of anticipating correctly the position of an economy in the business cycle.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe