CEPS Commentaries

1 - 30 of 452
25 February 2015

The emergence of the controversial car service Uber has provoked a wide and heated discussion among economists specialising in the services sector in recent months. This Commentary explores the most salient questions being raised in the debate: Does Uber really offer a new service? And does it represent true innovation? The authors argue that there are some very interesting innovative elements associated with Uber, but those related to the specific industrial relations model might prove to be prejudiced against drivers.

25 February 2015

In the aftermath of the Great Financial Crisis both the EU and the US have implemented resolution procedures for their largest and most systemic financial institutions. This Commentary examines the main differences between the two frameworks. The EU framework allows, inter alia, action to prevent the failure of a credit institution, while the US regulatory framework requires that all systemic banks subject to resolution must be closed and resolved.

23 February 2015

In this Commentary, Daniel Gros argues that linking the primary surplus demanded of the new Greek government to the state of the economy is a sound approach. Some flexibility is warranted on this account, but the concept should be used to distribute the effort better over time, not to wriggle out of it.

Daniel Gros is Director of CEPS.

16 February 2015

More comprehensive cooperation in corporate taxation at European level could significantly advance the region’s socio-economic prosperity, but its potential contribution is unfortunately overlooked in the current search for growth and job creation. Lucrative tax niches established in some member states and the fear of losing fiscal autonomy prevent several countries from accepting the move towards an EU single market for taxation.

16 February 2015

In his comparison of the agreement concluded in the Belarus capital by the leaders of Russia, France, Ukraine and Germany on February 12th with the one reached on 5 September 2014, Michael Emerson asks what will be different this time? He observes first that there are additional provisions which may be significant and secondly, the strategic political and economic context is categorically different.

12 February 2015

To mark the passage of 100 days since Federica Mogherini took up the post of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission HR/VP, Steven Blockmans and Francesco Saverio Montesano reflect in a new CEPS Commentary on her early achievements and assess the efficacy of new approaches and working methods she has brought to EU foreign policy-making.

Steven Blockmans is Senior Research Fellow and Head of the EU Foreign Policy unit at CEPS. Francesco Saverio Montesano is an intern in the EU Foreign Policy unit.

10 February 2015

Since Syriza’s victory in Greece’s recent general election, some fear a return to the uncertainty of 2012, when many thought that a Greek default and exit from the eurozone were imminent and that a Greek debt crisis could destabilise – and perhaps even bring down – Europe’s monetary union.  CEPS Director Daniel Gros explains in this CEPS Commentary how this time really is different.

06 February 2015

 In response to the sustained pressure recently experienced by the Danish krone, Denmark may be forced to abandon its 30-year old peg to the euro. If this scenario unfolds, this CEPS Commentary argues that it will be no bad thing for the eurozone.

Cinzia Alcidi is LUISS Research Fellow and Head of the Economic Policy unit at CEPS, Thomas Barnebeck Andersen is Professor of Economics at University of Southern Denmark and Mikkel Barslund is Research Fellow at CEPS.

05 February 2015

In his analysis of the basic compromise that is emerging between the new left-wing government of Greece and its European partners, Daniel Gros emphasises that the key element will be how the real problem, namely liquidity, is dealt with.

Daniel Gros is Director of CEPS.

04 February 2015

Following the victory of Syriza in the Greek elections on January 25th, policy-makers, economists and concerned EU citizens are scrambling to understand the causes, modalities and consequences of a possible Greek default in order to anticipate and prepare for what is likely to unfold in the coming weeks and months. The debate on the sustainability of Greek public finances has often been characterised by a lack of clarity and even a certain degree of confusion.

03 February 2015

The EU was taken by surprise when the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, stood by his Russian counterpart and announced Armenia’s plans to join the Russian-led Customs Union in September 2013. After all, before this announcement Armenia and the EU had successfully concluded negotiations on their Association Agreement.

22 January 2015

In the run-up to the Greek elections on January 25th and the subsequent renegotiation of the country's economic adjustment programme with the troika, Daniel Gros writes in this Commentary that "nobody officially wants Grexit": not Syriza, which wants Greece to stay in the euro. It is ‘only’ asking for a reduction in Greece’s official debt and an end to austerity. The German government also does not favour Grexit because European unification remains the central project for German policy-makers across all mainstream parties.

21 January 2015

On January 15th the Swiss National Bank (SNB) abandoned the efforts it had taken since September 2011 to ensure that the Swiss franc/euro exchange rate would not fall below 1.2 Swiss francs per euro. The Swiss franc appreciated immediately by almost 20% (after a temporary overshot of an even larger amount).The justification was that speculative capital flows induced by the euro crisis were driving the Swiss franc above its equilibrium value.

19 January 2015

This Commentary summarises the main reasons why the ECB can no longer delay launching a massive bond-buying programme, also including sovereigns of eurozone member countries, and why such interventions will indeed be effective in raising inflation, thus restoring the ECB’s credibility and spurring economic activity. A credible programme must continue either until an explicit inflation target has been achieved or the ECB balance sheet has reached the €2 trillion target already announced by the ECB’s Governing Council.

16 January 2015

A decade-long period of a steadily rising oil prices (and that of other raw materials) has given Russia a feeling of strength, bordering on invulnerability, which has made the country more assertive, and ready to use any opportunity to deploy its military power. Based on his analysis of Russian behaviour over the past 50 years, Daniel Gros finds that the abrupt reversal of this trend since the summer of 2014 portends a much less aggressive Russian stance as long as the price of oil remains at present levels.

08 January 2015

The goal of accession to the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) is to place the EU under the external oversight of the specialised court in Strasbourg. But in its Opinion of 18 December 2014 the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice ruled that the draft accession agreement is not compatible with the EU treaties. In this commentary the authors argue that this would force EU member states to renegotiate the terms of accession to the ECHR. But meeting the demands made by the Court of Justice will prove to be very difficult.

08 January 2015

Following Moldova’s Parliamentary elections at the end of November, Erwan Fouéré reflects in this Commentary on the wide array of serious challenges facing the country in the coming year. These include notably long-standing internal rivalries, economic woes and the country’s unfortunate position in the middle of an intense geopolitical struggle between Russia and the EU.

05 January 2015

Against a backdrop of chaos and violence in the EU’s neighbourhood, Steven Blockmans acknowledges that the troubles of 2014 will cast a long, dark shadow over 2015. In this new CEPS Commentary the author attempts to predict some of the EU foreign policy developments that are likely to mark the New Year.

Steven Blockmans is Head of EU Foreign Policy at CEPS.

21 December 2014

With the tumultuous year of ever-changing episodes in Ukraine coming to a close – from Yanukovich reneging at Vilnius last November, to the new Maidan, to Yanukovich fleeing for his life, to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and incursions into the eastern Donbass, the election of pro-European President Poroshenko, the war with over 4,000 dead, the election of a new pro-European parliament and now the crash of the rouble – Michael Emerson sees at last a possible the end-game in sight.

19 December 2014

On the 1st of November, the double majority system established by the Lisbon Treaty for qualified majority voting (QMV) in the Council entered into force. The shift in the balance of power, however, will not be effective before April 2017, given the possibility for member states to invoke the Nice rules until that date.

16 December 2014

By elevating “Energy Union” to the status of a Commission mission statement, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker succeeded in forging a new EU consensus on energy and climate change at the October European Council meeting. In a move that was made possible by linking the internal energy market and climate change agendas to security of supply, solidarity and infrastructure, the initiative notably meets the interests of Central and Eastern Europe as well as the peripheral member states. 

11 December 2014

Japan’s two major electricity producing companies reached a preliminary agreement recently to establish a joint venture for the procurement of fossil fuel resources, primarily liquefied natural gas (LNG).

10 December 2014

With the aim of averting the total collapse of the Ukrainian economy, Daniel Gros and Steven Blockmans urge the EU to ​offer a minimum of macro-financial assistance to improve governance, fight corruption and harmonise laws with the EU acquis, while beefing up financing channelled directly to the grass roots.
Daniel Gros is Director of CEPS. Steven Blockmans is Senior Research Fellow at CEPS and Head of the EU Foreign Policy research programme.

05 December 2014

More than seven years after the South Stream pipeline project was first announced in June 2007, it finally seems to have been dropped by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on his visit to Turkey this week. This CEPS Commentary looks at the ostensible reasons for President Putin’s decision as well as on what’s potentially behind them. It concludes that the EU may actually benefit from this decision in being able to secure more gas with less political interference from Russia.

Arno Behrens is Research Fellow and Head of the Energy research unit at CEPS.

02 December 2014

Over the last few months, Russia has employed a number of economic and security measures to derail the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between the EU and Ukraine. Russia’s opposition to the Agreement was based on the argument that it would damage its economy and weaken its trade ties with Ukraine. Russia’s actions ultimately led to war in Ukraine, but did not succeed in reversing Ukraine’s EU integration policies; instead there are now trilateral negotiations between the EU, Ukraine and Russia on mere technical trade aspects of the DCFTA.

01 December 2014

Libya is experiencing its worst security crisis since the 2011 revolution, the intervention by NATO and the overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. While the parliamentary elections of July 2012 provided “an opportunity to put the transition process back on track and overcome the recent political polarisation”, the country has instead descended into a deadly vortex of conflicting political groups, militias and tribes. Without the international political attention that is needed to save it from itself, Libya is now breaking up in at least two parts.

27 November 2014

On the face of it, the €315 billion euro in additional investment announced by Juncker to kickstart Europe’s economy should make a material difference. But, explains Daniel Gros, without actually having any margin of manoeuvre in the EU budget there cannot be any financing for new investment and there cannot be any real growth impulse. The European Commission should have made the completion of the internal market, in particular the integration of Europe’s energy markets, a precondition for any new investment plan.

Daniel Gros is Director of CEPS.

26 November 2014

This Commentary finds that the US-China joint declaration on climate change, issued following the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Beijing on November 12th, is undoubtedly an important announcement by the two global economic giants responsible for emitting over 30% of the world’s GHG emissions. As such, it needs to be seen as important and relevant – a very positive development towards a new global climate change agreement in Paris.

21 November 2014

The Joint Plan of Action agreed upon with Iran on 24 November 2013 gave negotiators one year to forge a comprehensive agreement that restricts the country’s ability to militarise its nuclear programme. That deadline will lapse in the next few days and diplomats involved in the talks have been trying to rein in expectations that a deal will be struck on time.

14 November 2014

This Commentary aims to contribute to the current analysis of sovereign QE (quantitative easing) that the ECB has already initiated through its internal working groups. The authors see a specific opportunity in sovereign QE that could provide for a game-changer in the course of the European crisis. They argue that the ECB intervention would be less distortive and more effective if it could leverage on the existence of a liquid market for a public security representing the eurozone as a whole, based on the securitisation of the different underlying national public securities.