Economic Policy

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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 ( and is reprinted here with its kind permission.


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.

24 July 2014

After an in-depth review of the Stability and Growth Pact, the authors of this CEPS Policy Brief conclude that there is sufficient flexibility within the Pact to accommodate any unexpected drop in economic activity and has ample margin to finance structural reforms during transition to the new regime.

Stefano Micossi is Director General of Assonime, visiting professor at the College of Europe in Bruges and a member of CEPS Board of Directors. Fabrizia Peirce is Senior Economist in Assonime economic division.

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.

20 June 2014

The authors test Paul De Grauwe’s eurozone fragility hypothesis using a time window around the announcement of the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) programme. The findings reveal significant contagion from Spain to other eurozone countries, but solely during the pre-announcement period. The authors conclude that in this case the OMT programme has succeeded in mitigating the self-fulfilling dynamics within the eurozone.

13 June 2014

This report is based on discussions within the CEPS Task Force on “The Quantity and Quality of Human Capital in Higher Education: Comparing the EU, the US and China", chaired by Jan-Eric Sundgren, Senior Adviser to the CEO of Volvo, and former President of Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg. It aims to draw salient lessons from the successes and failures in higher education practices in the EU, the US and China by comparing key education indicators and policy trends.

14 May 2014

Since the announcement of the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) programme by Mario Draghi, President of the ECB, in 2012, the government bond spreads began a strong decline. This paper finds that most of this decline is due to the positive market sentiments that the OMT programme has triggered and is not related to underlying fundamentals, such as the debt-to-GDP ratios or the external debt position that have continued to increase in most countries. The authors even argue that the market’s euphoria may have gone too far in taking into account the same market fundamentals.

06 May 2014

The significant gains in export market shares made in a number of vulnerable euro-area crisis countries have not been accompanied by an appropriate improvement in price competitiveness. This paper argues that, under certain conditions, firms consider export activity as a substitute for serving domestic demand. The strength of the link between domestic demand and exports is dependent on capacity constraints. Our econometric model for six euro-area countries suggests domestic demand pressure and capacity-constraint restrictions as additional variables of a properly specified export equation.

28 April 2014

The study presents an overview of the impact of the main investment tools of the EU budget. The focus is on the increasing role of the financial instruments, which are fundamentally changing the budget’s nature and reach. Through these instruments, the EU can invest more efficiently in more areas and mobilise a multiple of funds. The EU budget has the potential to influence the European economy much more than its modest size in terms of GDP may suggest.

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.

02 April 2014

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28 March 2014

The EMS crisis of the 1990s illustrated the importance of a lack of confidence in price or exchange rate stability, whereas the present crisis illustrates the importance of a lack of confidence in fiscal sustainability. Theoretically the difference between the two should be minor since, in terms of the real return to an investor, the loss of purchasing power can be the same when inflation is unexpectedly high, or when the nominal value of government debt is cut in a formal default.

27 March 2014

Has inflation targeting (IT) conferred benefits in terms of economic growth on countries that followed this particular monetary policy strategy during the crisis period 2007-12? This paper answers this question in the affirmative. Countries with an IT monetary regime with flexible exchange rates weathered the crisis much better than countries with other monetary regimes, predominantly countries with fixed exchange rates.

26 March 2014

Daniel Gros, Director of CEPS, contributed this column to VoxEU, where it was first published on 19 March 2014.

25 March 2014

The European Commission has recently published results of its "in-depth review" in the context of the so-called Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure (MIP). This provides a valuable occasion to reflect on the design and effectiveness of the MIP. The authors note in this article that the MIP is envisaged to warn of future crisis within the euro area, so it does not make sense to use absolute indicators or thresholds, especially if they are backwards looking.

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.

19 March 2014

The news from Greece these days has been dominated by the announcement that the government achieved a primary budget surplus in 2013. While acknowledging that this is indeed a highly laudable accomplishment, Daniel Gros points out in a new commentary that a more important news item, which has received much less attention, is the fact that Greece exported less in 2013 than in 2012.

11 March 2014

Two of the four macroeconomic adjustment programmes – in Portugal and Ireland – can be considered a success in the sense that the initial expectations in terms of adjustment, both fiscal and external, were broadly fulfilled. A rebound based on exports has taken hold in these two countries, but a full recovery will take years. In Greece the initial plans were insufficient. While the strong impact of the fiscal adjustment on demand could have been partially anticipated at the time, the resistance to structural reforms was more surprising and remains difficult to cure.

12 February 2014

Despite considerable differences, there were also many similarities in economic performance between Latvia and Greece before their respective adjustment crises. After the immediate crisis, however, economic activity rebounded sharply in Latvia but continued to contract in Greece.  This paper argues that this difference was due primarily to developments in credit. In Latvia credit growth fell sharply, and the economy was deleveraging aggressively by 2009. When the pace of deleveraging started to stabilise, the rebound in the credit impulse caused domestic demand growth to recover.

07 February 2014

This paper aims to estimate the crowding-out effect of the Danish mandatory labour market pension reforms begun in 1993 on the level of total household savings for renters. The effect is identified via a large panel of individual administrative records utilising the differences in speed, timing and sectoral coverage of the implementation of the reform in the period 1997 to 2005. Little substitutability was found between current mandatory labour market pension savings and private voluntary savings.

04 February 2014

This volume, published by Oxford University Press and edited by Rosa M. Lastra and Lee Buchheit, contains a contribution by CEPS Director Daniel Gros entitled “Restructuring in a Monetary Union: Economic Aspects”. His chapter discusses the economic aspects of sovereign debt restructuring by first showing how economic and monetary union changes the usual concordance between foreign debt and foreign currency debt.

24 January 2014

Paul De Grauwe writes in this new CEPS Commentary that the recent and surprising conversion of François Hollande to supply-side economics completes the victory of the northern European policy-makers who believe that insufficient aggregate demand should be fought exclusively by supply-side measures. In his view, however, it is not the first time in post-war history that economists and policy-makers apply the wrong medicine; or to put it differently, it's akin to some generals who fight a new war by applying the strategies developed for the previous war.

16 January 2014

Larry Summers has attracted much attention recently for invoking old theories of secular stagnation to explain the persistence of low interest rates in the recent past. The German economist Carl Christian von Weizsäcker has pointed to a retirement savings glut as the cause for low rates. In the view of Thomas Mayer, however, as expressed in this High-Level Brief, these theses lack both theoretical and empirical support and he offers as an alternative explanation the fall-out from the recent credit boom-bust cycle.

15 January 2014

Before the ECB takes over responsibility for overseeing Europe’s largest banks, as foreseen in the establishment of a eurozone banking union, it plans to conduct an Asset Quality Review (AQR) throughout the coming year, which will identify the capital shortfalls of these banks. This study finds that a comprehensive and decisive AQR will most likely reveal a substantial lack of capital in many peripheral and core European banks.

14 January 2014

The upheavals of the Arab Spring in the southern Mediterranean led to domestic and international demands on the governments in the region to implement reforms aimed at enhancing business and investment conditions especially for micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), which carry out an overwhelming majority of the region’s economic activity. A comprehensive survey among some 600 high-growth potential MSMEs in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia identified and ranked the key obstacles impeding their high-growth potential.

14 January 2014

The Arab Spring, which took root in Tunisia and Egypt in the beginning of 2011 and gradually spread to other countries in the southern Mediterranean, highlighted the importance of private-sector development, job creation, improved governance and a fairer distribution of economic opportunities. The developments led to domestic and international calls for the region’s governments to implement the needed reforms to enhance business and investment conditions, modernise their economies and support the development of enterprises.

09 January 2014

Following the recent ‘third plenum’ in China, CEPS Director Daniel Gros finds that China has reached a difficult crossroads in terms of making the necessary reforms that will foster continued growth and productivity. Continuing in the direction that so far has been followed with astounding success, namely giving the market a greater role and opening to the rest of the world, might no longer be sufficient. He points out, for example, that combating pollution requires more state intervention, not less.

19 December 2013

Calling the Single Resolution Mechanism an “inelegant step in the right direction”, this Commentary singles out the Single Resolution Fund, with its considerable mutualisation of risk, as the key advance – but one that will require changes over time in the extremely complex decision-making mechanisms agreed.

Daniel Gros is Director of CEPS.

19 December 2013

It is generally assumed that any capital needs discovered by the Asset Quality Review the ECB is scheduled to finish by the end of 2014 should be filled by public funding (= fiscal backstop). This assumption is wrong, however. Banks that do not have enough capital should be asked to obtain it from the market; or be restructured using the procedures and rules recently agreed. The Directorate-General for Competition at the European Commission should be particularly vigilant to ensure that no further state aid flows to an already oversized European banking system.

19 December 2013

In his assessment of the compromise agreement reached on the Single Resolution Mechanisn (SRM), Daniel Gros finds that the popular perception that the periphery has the most to gain from the establishment of a unified resolution regime might have gotten it backwards. In reality, he finds that Germany and other surplus countries have a bigger interest in tying the hands of their national resolution authorities, which have a tendency to be too generous.

Daniel Gros is Director of CEPS.