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  • 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, 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: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In recent decades the EU has widened and deepened to such an extent that it now deals in almost all areas of policy-making. Its budget, however, has barely changed over this period. It thus needs to be radically reformed if it is to reflect the priorities of an expanding and deepening Union. Over 40% of spending still supports agriculture, a declining sector; spending for research and innovation, recognised as the main driving force of productivity growth, is too low, and there is no room in the budget for the new public goods of domestic and external security that the public demands. However, the budget is determined through an inter-governmental negotiation in which no entity defends the over-arching European interest since all countries (rationally) care only about their 'net balance'.
  • Topic: Government, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Imke Kruse, Florian Trauner
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: With the Eastern Enlargement successfully completed, the EU is searching for a proper balance between internal security and external stabilisation that is acceptable to all sides. This paper focuses on an EU foreign policy instrument that is a case in point for this struggle: EC visa facilitation and readmission agreements. By looking at the EU's strategy on visa facilitation and readmission, this paper aims to offer a first systematic analysis of the objectives, substance and political implications of these agreements. The analysis considers the instrument of EC visa facilitation and readmission agreements as a means to implement a new EU security approach in the neighbourhood. In offering more relaxed travel conditions in exchange for the signing of an EC readmission agreement and reforming domestic justice and home affairs, the EU has found a new way to press for reforms in neighbouring countries while addressing a major source of discontent in these countries. The analysis concludes with the broader implications of these agreements and argues that even if the facilitated travel opportunities are beneficial for the citizens of the target countries, the positive achievements are undermined by the Schengen enlargement, which makes the new member states tie up their borders to those of their neighbours.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, International Political Economy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Richard Youngs
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The EU routinely asserts that the promotion of democracy and human rights is central to its international identity. However, while in some places the EU has a relatively strong record as a supporter of democratic values, it is failing to respond effectively to the emergence of a vastly more challenging environment for democracy promotion. This paper reveals serious limits across three strands of democracy policy – the magnitude of incentives offered in return for democratic change, the degree of critical pressure exerted for democratic reform and the scale of European democracy funding. Even where the EU is building on the initiatives it has pursued for the last two decades, the paper demonstrates that these policies fail to measure up to the challenges posed by the new international context.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Daniel S. Hamilton
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: To what degree may the US be considered a normative power? The US foreign policy mainstream tends to reflect a varying blend of normative and hegemonic approaches. The US has been and continues to be simultaneously a guardian of international norms; a norm entrepreneur challenging prevailing norms as insufficient; a norm externaliser when it tries to advance norms for others that it is reluctant to apply to itself; and a norm blocker when it comes to issues that may threaten its position, or that exacerbate divisions among conflicting currents of American domestic thought. On balance (and despite exceptions), the US has sought to manage this normative-hegemonic interplay by accepting some limits on its power in exchange for greater legitimacy and acceptance of its leadership by others. The unresolved question today is whether the US and other key players are prepared to stick with this bargain. Closer examination of the US case also raises a considerable number of questions about the notion of the EU as a 'normative power'.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, International Law, International Organization, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe
  • Author: Thomas L Brewer
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Climate change, international trade, investment and technology transfer are all issues that have intersected in diverse institutional contexts and at several levels of governmental activity to form a new joint agenda. The purpose of this paper is to advance understanding of this joint agenda by identifying the specific issues that have emerged, the policies that have been adopted, especially in the EU and US, and the options that are available for further policy-making.
  • Topic: Government, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Richard Youngs
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Rising oil and gas prices appear to have helped shore up autocratic producer states across the world. They also seem to have led Western states to dilute their support for democratic reforms in these countries. But while this conventional wisdom correctly restates the problematic relationship between energy and democracy, the overall picture is more complex. The paper reveals that the opaque management of increased oil and gas revenues has sparked pressure for governance reforms from within producer states and has also encouraged new international initiatives linking energy security with good governance.
  • Topic: Corruption, Energy Policy, Government, International Political Economy, Oil
  • Author: Thierry Balzacq
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This working document offers a conceptual framework for understanding the processes underpinning the external dimension of EU Justice and Home Affairs (ED-JHA). Practically, it defines how the export of JHA principles and norms inform the geopolitical ambitions of the EU, i.e. the use of space for political purposes, or the control and management of people, objects and movement. The author begins by investigating how the ENP reconfigures the ED-JHA, and then goes on to discuss various conceptual stances on governance, specifically institutionalism, constructivism, and policy instruments. To conclude he traces the evolution of this external dimension, emphasising, whenever possible, its continuities and bifurcations. Overall, the aim is to ascertain the extent to which conceptual designs clarify or advance our knowledge of the contents and rationales of the ED-JHA.
  • Topic: Government, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Thomas L Brewer
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Climate change, international trade, investment and technology transfer are all issues that have intersected in diverse institutional contexts and at several levels of governmental activity to form a new joint agenda. The purpose of this paper is to advance understanding of this joint agenda by identifying the specific issues that have emerged, the policies that have been adopted, especially in the EU and US, and the options that are available for further policy-making.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Cooperation, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Europe's two crises – the Georgia-Russia war of August and the ongoing global financial and economic crisis – point to huge challenges for the organisation and policies of the European Union. The present paper concentrates on the risks that the crises represent for one of the EU's prim e objective, to achieve a civilized wider European order. At least the current episodes show that with leadership the EU can act fast in both diplomacy and finance. But the next question is how to follow through, beyond a passing moment of an effective six-month presidency of the EU. This is the subject of the present note, which advocates a comprehensive upgrading of the EU's policies in the wider European area, and contributes ideas for the revision of the European Security Strategy currently being prepared. The aim would be to strengthen EU policies towards South-East Europe, East Europe and Central Asia, and defuse the current confrontation between a normative Europe and an aggressive Russian realpolitik; better still Russia might, after reflecting on what the two crises mean for its fundamental interests, conclude that the time had come for a more genuinely cooperative understanding with the EU.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Central Asia, Asia, Georgia
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: resident Sarkozy's proposed Union for the Mediterranean (or UMed) has so far been poorly conceived and, to say the least, awkwardly presented politically. However this does not mean that nothing good can come of it. The Barcelona process and its confusing combination with the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) have neither been a disaster nor a brilliant success. There is a case for streamlining a single European Mediterranean policy, rationalising and properly integrating Barcelona, the ENP and new ideas that the UMed initiative may produce. Both Italy and Spain as well as the South Mediterranean states themselves appear concerned not to undermine the existing structures (Barcelona and ENP). Steps could be made to lighten the overweight participation of the EU and all its 27 member states in too many meetings with too many participants and too few results, drawing on models that have emerged in the EU's Northern maritime regions. However, the EU as a whole will not agree to delegate the essential initiative on strategic matters to just its Southern coastal states – as has been made clear in recent exchanges between President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel. In addition the EU will also want to maintain a balance between its Northern and Southern priorities, and if the UMed becomes a new impetus for the South, an equivalent but different policy move can be contemplated for the EU's East European neighbours
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, International Political Economy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain, Italy, Barcelona
  • Author: Jørgen Mortensen, ain Begg, Juraj Draxler
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief picks up the main observations and arguments included in a study undertaken by CEPS for the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission. It was presented by Iain Begg at a major Commission conference in Brussels on 16 April 2008, which had broad attendance by officials, media people and researchers, and was concluded by a keynote speech by José Manuel Barroso, President of the Commission. The conference took place at a time of emerging financial crisis and rising oil and food prices, aspects emphasised by some speakers as elements throwing new light on some of the arguments in the report. Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament, stressed that promotion of knowledge and innovation constitutes an important condition for enhancing the competitiveness of the European economy. Thus, the Union should take on a leadership role in combining globalisation with social policy, fighting climate change and fostering environmental stability. Mr. Barroso, in his conclusions underlined the necessity of a renewal of social policies based on equal opportunities, access and solidarity.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Leonor Coutinho
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper reviews the analysis of fiscal policy in the new open economy macro-economics literature, in view of increasing interest in the question of transmission and coordination of policies across countries, stirred by developments in this literature and by the formation of the euro area. The analysis focuses on two main points: (i) the identification of welfare spillover effects to third countries; and (ii) the assessments made so far of the potential gains from pursuing non-cooperative and cooperative fiscal stabilisation policies. Regarding welfare spillovers, some additional results are derived to examine whether the exchange rate regime (flexible or fixed) matters for the size of these spillovers, and whether the type of policy pursued (balanced-budget or debt-financed) matters. Fixed exchange rates only seem to postpone the costs from the short to the long run, but the type of policy is crucial in determining the welfare impact of fiscal expansions. With respect to policy coordination, attention is drawn to the need to reflect on a potential role for fiscal policy as a stabilisation tool, and on possible interactions between fiscal and monetary policy.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Francesca di Mauro
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States