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  • Author: Paul De Grauwe
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: One of the major problems of the eurozone is the divergence of the competitive positions that have built up since the early 2000s. This divergence has led to major imbalances in the eurozone where the countries that have seen their competitive positions deteriorate (mainly the so - called ' PIIGS ' – Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain ) have accumulated large current account deficits and thus external indebtedness, matched by current account surpluses of the countries that have improved their competitive positions (mainly Germany).
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland
  • Author: Simon Johnson, Peter Boone
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Attempts to resolve the problems in Europe are failing, and the crisis is spreading from Greece, Ireland, and Portugal to larger nations. Europe's financial system relies on moral hazard, i.e., a “no defaults” policy, to attract the funding needed to roll over large amounts of short–term bank and sovereign debt. Now that politicians in creditor nations are calling for private sector burden sharing, investors are demanding higher interest rates to hold these debts. But higher rates may tip banks and nations toward bankruptcy. Europe's banks and financial system are highly integrated across countries. Rising expectations of default in some countries could lead to large-scale capital flight into “safe” countries. This shift will raise concerns regarding solvency and liquidity of many financial institutions. The payments system of the euro area is serving as an opaque bailout mechanism that is currently preventing the euro area from falling apart at this time. If the number of nations in trouble spreads beyond Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, this bailout system will be stressed because of the potential size of accumulated funding. The European Central Bank (ECB) could soon see a vocal debate between inflationist and hawkish (anti–inflation) members. Inflationists will call for large–scale interventions, including bond buybacks and emergency loans, while the hawks will attempt to close loopholes in the payments system that effectively permit each troubled nation to create money needed to finance capital flight and budget deficits. At this stage in the debate, we see little chance that Europe can avoid ending the “moral hazard” regime, in which case it needs to plan for widespread sovereign and bank debt restructurings.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Ireland
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: For the present UK government, full accession to the Schengen area, a passport- free travel area covering most of Europe, is a red line that it will not cross. Ireland shares a common travel area and land border with the UK and is also bound by this decision. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the UK, along with Ireland, is suffering serious economic and reputational costs as a result of its separate visa and border management policies.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Europe, Ireland
  • Author: John Temple Lang, Eamonn Gallagher
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In the referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon in June 2008, Irish voters who voted against the Treaty gave several specific reasons as well as a variety of vague or general reasons that were unrelated to anything that was in the Treaty. These vague or general reasons are important because they probably were also significant influences in the “no” votes in France and the Netherlands. Moreover, they may be shared by a substantial but unknown number of people in other EU member states who did not get an opportunity to vote in a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty or the Treaty for a Constitution. There were positive referendum results in Luxembourg and Spain. Other countries promised referenda, but did not hold them.
  • Topic: International Organization, Regional Cooperation, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Netherlands, Ireland