CEPS Commentaries

31 - 60 of 432
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.

16 July 2014

Based on his speech to the European Parliament on July 15th, following his election as President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker has clearly opted for ‘more Union’ during his five-year term, offering up an ambitious agenda that raises a host of expectations. In this CEPS Commentary, Karel Lannoo outlines the most salient items on Juncker’s agenda, focusing on the most laudable and those that will pose the greatest challenges.

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

03 July 2014

Expectations of the Greek presidency were not high: the budget was limited, the legislative term was drawing to a close and the European Parliament dissolved in mid-April for the elections. However, Greece made the most of its resources to progress on some very important dossiers and brought about a satisfactory close to the Trio presidency previously held by Ireland and Lithuania.

01 July 2014

In his reflections on the intervening century since the start of the First World War, Erwan Fouéré acknowledges that the EU has brought enormous benefits to its citizens by extending the frontiers of peace and security to include 28 member countries. At the same time, however, he warns that the voices of populism are trying to destroy its very foundations and calls upon the European Union to work much harder at showing that the integration project is both vital and necessary for continued peace and prosperity in Europe.

27 June 2014

Given that the new European Parliament will be more Eurosceptical, radical and fragmented than its predecessors, Sonia Piedrafita and Karel Lannoo warn that it will face even tougher constraints in building the necessary majorities to pass legislation and adopt decisions. They argue in this new Commentary that this grave situation calls for a serious debate on the governability of the EP.

Sonia Piedrafita is Research Fellow in the Politics and Institutions research unit at CEPS. Karel Lannoo is Chief Executive Officer and Senior Research Fellow at CEPS.

26 June 2014

As the European Council convenes today and tomorrow (June 26-27th) to confirm Jean-Claude Juncker as the candidate for President of the European Commission, CEPS Director Daniel Gros shows in this Commentary that the Council should de facto also be considered more a 'mini parliament' than an assembly of states and that the European Parliament cannot claim the monopoly on democratic legitimacy.

23 June 2014

In view of the demographic dynamics of East Asia, in this commentary Wolfgang Pape makes a plea for a kind of ‘geriatric peace’ in the region rather than further territorial disputes and expensive military build-up.

Wolfgang Pape is Associate Research Fellow at CEPS; former official of the European Commission and General Manager of the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation.

20 June 2014

Bosnia-Herzegovina's provisional constitutional system, as created by the Dayton Agreement, has outlived its purpose by more than ten years. Economic and political governance are now even more deadlocked by corruption, political recriminations and institutional failure. Fouéré and Blockmans argue the need for more robust engagement by both the EU and the US and for a constitutional convention to spur reform.

11 June 2014

At the very moment when Ukraine's territorial integrity is at stake, natural gas could become part of the solution, argue these authors. Due to its massive storage potential, namely one-third that of the EU (or seven-times that of the UK), Ukraine is a natural candidate for an eastern European gas hub. Becoming an integrated part of the European gas market has economic and political merits – both for Ukraine and the EU.

Julian Wieczorkiewicz is a Research Assistant at CEPS, and Fabio Genoese is Research Fellow at CEPS.

06 June 2014

In this new commentary, CEPS Fellow Marco Incerti argues that the so-called technical and legal arguments that are being advanced against the lead candidates’ (Spitzenkandidaten) selection process actually boil down to political choices − choices that are set against the increasingly confrontational climate between the European Council and European Parliament that has characterised their dealings in recent years. 

06 June 2014

Despite the fact that anti-establishment, mostly euro-sceptic parties won about one-fifth of the vote in the European Parliament elections last month, Daniel Gros insists that it is not quite accurate (or fair) to characterise the result as a rejection of Europe. He argues that the deeper roots of the surge of euro-sceptic and other protest parties originate with the general dissatisfaction with the state of the economy and dysfunctional national political systems.

29 May 2014

Following the convincing election of Petro Poroshenko as Ukraine’s new President, Michael Emerson puts forward 15 steps with a view to creating a fresh start for Ukraine, the EU and Russia and their neighbourhood policies.

The author is Senior Associate Research Fellow at CEPS.

23 May 2014

Much commentary on the EP elections has followed the line that the European Parliament somehow has less democratic legitimacy because the participation rate is low, and that these elections are taken less seriously because people’s trust in the EU institutions in general and the European Parliament in particular is low. Both arguments lose much of their validity if the numbers are judged in a wider context, however, especially if one compares participation rates in mid-term congressional elections in the United States.

16 May 2014

The recent presidential and early parliamentary elections in Macedonia are only one illustration of the country’s long-term political condition: illiberal democracy. What is needed is a re-think of the instruments and the manner in which major international actors could and should foster constitutional liberalism in Macedonia. While recognising that the primary and essential responsibility lies with Macedonians themselves, the author calls for support to establish the Macedonian state’s capacity for the legitimate exercise of power.

14 May 2014

The EU appears to be out of its depth as a geopolitical actor trying to deal with the crisis in Ukraine. In this new CEPS Commentary, Steven Blockmans and Daniel Gros argue that the EU should concentrate on what really matters now: namely, preventing any further escalation of the conflict by sending a substantial stabilisation force to the areas that have so far remained relatively calm.

Steven Blockmans is Senior Research Fellow at CEPS and Head of the EU Foreign Policy and Daniel Gros is Director at CEPS.

05 May 2014

The tendency within the EU today to blur distinctions between internal and external policies and between hard and soft security demands a more holistic and inclusive approach in tackling challenges and seizing opportunities if the EU is to make good on its foreign policy objectives. In his assessment of the impact of the ‘big bang’ enlargement on EU foreign policy a decade later, Steven Blockmans finds that the experience and expertise of the (by now not so) new member states has been and will continue to be indispensable for the European Union.

02 May 2014

With Ukraine disintegrating before our eyes, Michael Emerson calls for the EU to convene again the Geneva Quad with the utmost urgency, and proposes a peacekeeping operation by a jointly flagged tripartite brigade of Ukrainian, EU and Russian troops and police to clean up the Maidan in Kyiv, moving on into Donetsk and Lugansk. This short-term action should also have long-term consequences for the European order, if it initiated a switch by the EU and Russia into a cooperative mode over their common neighbourhood.

24 April 2014

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is the first and currently the only international body to have a monitoring mission deployed in Ukraine. This is as it should be, argues Erwan Fouéré. Today, with EU members making up half the membership of the OSCE, the EU needs to show greater responsibility and far-sightedness in its dealings with the OSCE.

08 April 2014

Notes Regardless of whether Ukraine is ‘lost’, or who lost it, Daniel Gros finds in this new Commentary that the country can still offer an attractive future for all of its citizens if unavoidable economic reforms can be made compatible with regional cohesion. He urges the EU to play an essential role in the process by opening its market and providing funding and technical assistance in crucial areas.

28 March 2014

While the geopolitics of the Ukraine crisis have dominated headlines, little attention has been paid to the potential challenges arising from the movement of people from the region to the EU. Yet recent history should tell us this could be a grave oversight. As we witnessed during the Arab Spring in 2011, political upheaval can result in people fleeing their state in fear of persecution or seeking to leave their state in search of new horizons and economic opportunities.

27 March 2014

The conclusions of the December 2013 European Council on defence sounded like a ‘revise and resubmit’ recommendation for the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). That outcome was not too disappointing in itself, because precise technical guidelines were provided to revamp Europe’s defence, with good prospects of real progress. But it was not too ambitious either, as a clear indication of Europe’s future role in global security was in effect postponed until 2015, thus requiring ‘resubmission’ at a later date.

24 March 2014

In assessing the compromise agreement reached on March 20th on how to deal with banks in difficulty in the eurozone, Daniel Gros finds that the Single Resolution Fund represents an awkward step in the right direction in that it leaves as many problems unresolved as it addresses. But the end result is likely to be quite strong, because it establishes a key innovation: a common fund that effectively mutualises much of the risk resulting from bank failures.