CEPS Commentaries

31 - 60 of 453
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.

14 November 2014

The European Court of Justice's new judgment on the Dano case should be reverberating around the UK. In Michael Emerson's view, it shows how national competences can be deftly used to control for 'benefit tourism' without challenging EU law, and that the Court is not acting as the agent of 'EU competence creep', as alleged in the Eurosceptic's stereotype.  

12 November 2014

Two recent instances of flagrant infringement of agreed EU rules – the submission by Italy and France of budget plans for 2015 that clearly violated their governments’ vows of continued austerity under the Stability and Growth Pact and David Cameron’s petulant refusal to pay a back payment of billions of euros to the EU budget – threaten the EU’s fundamental workings, which are based on a clear rulebook enforced vigorously by a strong Commission.

05 November 2014

Following the Commission’s autumn forecast showing that only five euro-area countries exhibit a fiscal balance better than the 0.5% of GDP deficit allowed by the Fiscal Compact, Daniel Gros and Cinzia Alcidi attempt to explain in this new Commentary why there is precious little policy debate over these flagrant treaty violations. They find that it is not possible to put fiscal policy in a legal straightjacket and that the tight rules enshrined in the new Treaty and in national constitutions are discarded as soon as they become politically inconvenient.

04 November 2014

The surprise revelation that the UK would be paying a surcharge to the EU budget of €2.1 billion sent Prime Minister Cameron into a rampage. How could this misunderstanding have arisen, as the resources mechanism of the EU budget uses a rather rigid method of calculation agreed by all member states?

04 November 2014

Aside from David Cameron’s ill-tempered protest at the news that the UK owed an additional €2 billion to the EU budget by December 1st, there is not much further to be said on the matter. As underlined in this Commentary, the basic point is simple: clear rules on the contributions of member states were agreed, by common consent, whose implementation essentially involved putting numbers into a spreadsheet. This was done expressly in order to remove the political element out of a potentially contentious process.

23 October 2014

With the results of its asset quality review (AQR), to be published on Sunday, October 26th, the European Central Bank intends to provide clarity on the soundness of the banks it will supervise in the eurozone. In addition, it may request a series of follow-up actions before assuming its new set of tasks under the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) Regulation in November. On the same day, the European Banking Authority (EBA) will also be publishing the results of its stress test, covering 123 banks across 22 European Economic Area (EEA) countries.

17 October 2014

The European Union, together with other countries, is making a second effort to reach a comprehensive global climate change agreement in Paris in 2015, after the unsuccessful attempt to do so in Copenhagen in 2009. In a Europe still preoccupied with recovery from the economic crisis, why should the EU be tempted to offer leadership in the field of climate change and what would such an agreement bring – in short, what’s in it for the EU?

13 October 2014

The EU and the US have been stepping up sanctions against Russia because the Kremlin has broken every basic rule of the pan-European security order enshrined in the Helsinki Treaty of 1975. The effective closure of financial markets for Russia’s big businesses now has serious bite. The Kremlin’s counter-sanctions are marginal. Russia’s actual and threatened trade sanctions against Ukraine, alongside its aggression over Crimea and east Ukraine, mean that it has cast itself in the image of an enemy for most Ukrainians.

09 October 2014

With inflation in the eurozone stubbornly remaining on a downward trajectory, pressure is growing on the ECB to do “something” to prevent outright deflation. But, given the financial structure of eurozone countries, would the preferred "something" – quantitative easing – actually do the trick?

03 October 2014

In surveying the portfolio for climate change assigned to Commissioner-designate Arias Cañete, Andrei Marcu finds in this CEPS Commentary that the approach proposed in the European Commission’s January 2014 package offers a sound basis on which to proceed overall, but he specifies that it needs to be put in a context where the causes and symptoms are correctly identified. He singles out timing and governance as other important elements and discusses their practical implications.

03 October 2014

Cities, more particularly ‘smart’ cities, could become a catalyst for economic and social development. For this to happen, Europe will need a new type of integrated infrastructure, a new urban governance and policy structure, as well as new finance and business models. Successful smart projects will eventually develop into new business models and companies.

01 October 2014

Philippe de Schoutheete takes as his point of departure in this Commentary the assumption that institutional treaty change cannot be a priority, although he does not exclude that it may become possible and desirable at a later period of economic growth and greater self-confidence in public opinion. In a best-case scenario, he foresees that such a window of opportunity might open towards the end of the present legislature. But in the meantime, he advises concentrating attention on adapting the institutions to make them work better and work more effectively together.

01 October 2014

Karel Lannoo prefaces his survey of the priorities for the new European Commission in the area of financial markets with a warning that the hangover from the past five years is huge and that public opinion on the role of the financial sector will continue to be critical for some time to come. Implementation and enforcement will need to be followed-up carefully, as any flaws could rapidly attract negative headlines. In this commentary, he finds that three themes stand out: moving back to normal in financial markets regulation, adequate implementation and enforcement, and access to finance.

01 October 2014

In presenting their priorities for the new European Commission, Miroslav Beblavý and Ilaria Maselli assert in this CEPS Commentary that the time has come to devise an EU-level shock absorption mechanism. In their view, the instrument that best aligns varying political and economic objectives is a form of reinsurance of national systems of unemployment insurance.

29 September 2014

This commentary welcomes the creation and prominence given by President Juncker to the new post of First Vice-President in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights as among the most interesting of several novelties contained in the proposed Commission and overdue. After all, as the authors point out, better regulation has been underpinning the Commission’s core business, namely, EU regulation, for over a decade.

29 September 2014

At a time when the European Union’s strategic and geopolitical environment is more troubled and unpredictable than it has been for decades, the European Council is calling for stronger EU engagement in international affairs. The rest of the rapidly changing world is not going to wait for the EU to get its act together to defend its own values and interests.

26 September 2014

In assessing the challenges facing Andrus Ansip, as Vice-President-designate for the Digital Single Market, and Günther Oettinger, as Commissioner-designate for Digital Economy and Society, Colin Blackman and Andrea Renda find that leadership and building real consensus among the member states will be the main keys to achieving what is, in their view, the most ambitious and important of the new Commission’s objectives. And, as they note further, their challenge is even greater, if one considers that, if successful, the Digital Agenda will have to be the last one.

24 September 2014

In his mission letter to Arias Cañete, Jean-Claude Juncker asked the designated Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy to focus on further developing EU policy for renewables in order to “be a world leader in this sector” and on promoting the EU Emissions Trading System “to ensure that we reach our climate goals in a cost-effective way”. Furthermore, he would like Alenka Bratušek, the designated Vice-President for Energy Union, to focus on “completing the internal energy market” and on “increasing competition”.

23 September 2014

The nomination of a First Vice-President (Frans Timmermans) in charge of rule of law and the EU Charter of Fundamental is one of the more far-reaching innovations contained in the new institutional shape of the Juncker Commission.

19 September 2014

On the morning after the momentous vote in Scotland, Michael Emerson also breathes a deep sigh of relief that the nightmare scenario of secession will not unfold and expresses his hope that Brussels can now return to its own business, with its renewed leadership feeling a bit encouraged to go about their burdensome agenda with more confidence.

Michael Emerson is Associate Senior Research Fellow at CEPS.

17 September 2014

Leaders of the EU’s institutions have to be political entrepreneurs if they are to leave a mark on history. Their decision-making power is limited, but they can often frame the choices and broker coalitions to push the existing boundaries of European integration. This Commentary by Daniel Gros finds that none of the EU’s top three new faces – Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk or Federica Mogherini – has a track record in this sense.

11 September 2014

In assessing the composition and structure of the new European Commission announced this week by Jean-Claude Juncker, Karel Lannoo finds that new President has revealed a welcome determination to fundamentally change the structure at the top and the capacity to think ahead in the division of portfolios and to juggle many different personalities in the College.

Karel Lannoo is the Chief Executive Officer and Senior Research Fellow at CEPS.

03 September 2014

President Putin has chosen to escalate the conflict in south-eastern Ukraine, thereby ignoring both the sanctions and the diplomatic advances of the EU and its partners in response to Russia’s belligerence towards its neighbour over the last six months. Ahead of the NATO Summit in Wales on September 4-5, calls are growing for EU member states to provide arms and more intelligence to Ukraine’s beleaguered army. But it is far from certain that the EU will summon up the collective courage to do so.

12 August 2014

Daniel Gros explores in a new CEPS Commentary the feasibility of creating a common fund to provide compensation for the economic costs of sanctions as an integral part of the EU’s foreign-policy stance that is now emerging towards Russia, albeit slowly and painfully. 

Daniel Gros is Director of CEPS. An earlier version of this Commentary was originally published by Project Syndicate, 7 August 2014 (http://www.project-syndicate.org/columnist/daniel-gros#AjP1vwU8bkf1j4Vm.99) and is reprinted here with its kind permission.


12 August 2014

The ECRI Statistical Package 2014 Lending to Households reveals that the total amount of outstanding household real debt at end-2013 contracted for the third consecutive year in both the EU member states (EU27) and the euro area (EA17).

All in all, indicators point to less divergent growth patterns across member states in 2013, as the standard deviation of the sample in domestic currency recorded its lowest value in more than 15 years. Still, pronounced corrections continued in a few countries, especially in Slovenia, Portugal, Spain, Hungary and Latvia.

05 August 2014

Daniel Gros argues in this commentary that the cause of the transatlantic growth gap following the recovery starting in 2010 from the global financial crisis should not be sought in excessive eurozone austerity or the excessive prudence of the European Central Bank. Rather, compared to the US, he argues that the excess debt created in the EU during the boom years has been much more difficult to work off.

04 August 2014

The Spitzenkandidaten experiment has been at the centre of a heated debate for several months now, prompting much speculation as to the changes it will bring to the balance of power between the EU institutions. But the real coup d’état has been directed against the old process of appointing the European Commission President behind closed doors.

31 July 2014

Following an upsurge in tensions over islands and territories in the South China Sea, Wolfgang Pape considers both the history both the history of the 'American lake' and the possible outcome of the recent claims made on this long-disputed area by the countries of South-East Asia.

This Commentary complements a recent piece written by the same author, entitled: “Care for the old rather than sleepwalk into war in East Asia” at: (http://www.ceps.eu/book/care-old-rather-sleepwalk-war-east-asia).

21 July 2014

Following the wanton downing of a civilian aircraft by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine and Israel’s ground offensive in Gaza, Karel Lannoo takes the EU to task for reverting to its usual ostrich-like behaviour in the face of threats to the security and stability of the entire continent.