Economic Policy

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11 September 2012

Cross-border firms supply goods and services throughout Europe and cross-border banks facilitate the cross-border traffic by persons and firms. European banks are thus an integral part of the internal market. Yet cross-border banking is not stable in the current institutional setting as national authorities focus on preserving the national parts of a cross-border bank and the integrated value of a bank is neglected. European banks therefore need a European safety net, which is a precondition for putting the supervisory framework on a European footing.

06 September 2012

The misguided belief that “this time is different” led policy-makers to permit the credit boom of the early 2000s to continue for too long, thus preparing the ground for the biggest financial crisis in living memory. But when it comes to the recovery this around, CEPS Director Daniel Gros argues in this Commentary that the belief that this time should not be different might be equally dangerous.

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06 September 2012

Arguing that the planned move to put the ECB in charge of banking supervision would be incomplete without a European Deposit Insurance and Resolution Authority (EDIRA), Daniel Gros and Dirk Schoenmaker spell out in a new CEPS Commentary some underlying principles to guide a gradual transition under which only future risks would be shared while past losses would remain at the national level. They show that ultimately such a new institution would serve as a genuine source of confidence in the European banking system.

04 September 2012

Launched in March 2010 by the European Commission, the Europe 2020 strategy aims at achieving “smart, sustainable and inclusive” growth. This growth is intended to be driven by three sets of engines: knowledge and innovation, a greener and more efficient use of resources and higher employment combined with social and territorial cohesion.

04 September 2012

The euro crisis has forced member states and the EU institutions to create a series of new instruments to safeguard macro-financial stability of the Union. This study describes the status of existing instruments, the role of the European Parliament and how the use of the instruments impinges on the EU budget also through their effects on national budgets. In addition, it presents a survey of other possible instruments that have been proposed in recent years (e.g.

30 August 2012

The proposal to move to a full banking union in the eurozone means a radical regime shift for the EU, since the European Central Bank will supervise the eurozone banks and effectively end ‘home country rule’. But how this is implemented raises a number of questions and needs close monitoring, explains CEPS CEO Karel Lannoo in this new Commentary.

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28 August 2012

As an alternative to the present system of intermediation of the German savings surplus, this paper suggests that the risk-adjusted rate of return could be improved by creating a sovereign wealth fund for Germany (designated DESWF), which could invest excess German savings globally. Such a DESWF would offer German savers a secure vehicle paying a guaranteed positive minimum real interest rate, with a top-up when real investment returns allowed. The vehicle would invest the funds in a portfolio that is highly diversified by geography and asset classes.

01 August 2012

At the end of the 1980s, a tri-polar world comprising the US, EU and Japan emerged. However, the economic turbulence of the early 21st century has destabilized this order, and the rise of other Asian powers has implications for the formation of a new economic configuration.

This book discusses the probability of the different tentative global economic power balances to emerge, as well as the different contestants: the EU, China and Japan, among others.

27 July 2012

The sentiment that the euro is now in real danger is based in large part on the widespread conviction that interest rates of 6-7% are simply unsustainable for both Italy and Spain., After taking a closer look at the fundamentals, however, Daniel Gros concludes in this new Policy Brief that both countries should be able to live with this level of interest rates for quite some time, but only if they mobilize domestic savings, which remain strong in both countries. For Spain, some debt/equity swaps are also needed.

Daniel Gros is Director of CEPS.

27 July 2012

In response to the often-heard accusation that “austerity is killing growth in Europe”, Daniel Gros asks in this new Commentary: “What austerity?” Looking at the entire budget cycle, he finds that the picture of austerity killing growth simply does not hold up.

16 July 2012

This paper reviews the causes of the ongoing crisis in the eurozone and the policies needed to restore stability in financial markets and reassure a bewildered public. Its main message is that the EU will not overcome the crisis until it has a comprehensive and convincing set of policies in place; able to address simultaneously budgetary discipline and the sovereign debt crisis, the banking crisis, adequate liquidity provision by the ECB and dismal growth.

16 July 2012

This Working Document by Daniel Gros presents a simple model that incorporates two types of sovereign default cost: first, a lump-sum cost due to the fact that the country does not service its debt fully and is recognised as being in default status, by ratings agencies, for example. Second, a cost that increases with the size of the losses (or haircut) imposed on creditors whose resistance to a haircut increases with the proportional loss inflicted upon them.

11 July 2012

Different economic and financial structures require different crisis responses. Different crises also require different tools and resources. The first ‘stage’ of the financial crisis (2007-09) was similar on both sides of the Atlantic, and the response was also quite similar. The second stage of the crisis is unique to the euro area. Increasing financial disintegration within the region has forced the ECB to become the central counterparty for the entire cross-border banking market and to intervene in the sovereign bond market of some stressed countries.

05 July 2012

In this Commentary, Daniel Gros applauds the decision taken by Europe’s leaders at the eurozone summit at the end of June to transfer responsibility for banking supervision in the eurozone to the European Central Bank. It represents explicit recognition of the important fact that problems might originate at the national level, but, owing to monetary union, they can quickly threaten the stability of the entire eurozone banking system.

27 June 2012

Spain, needing a bailout for its banks, was granted a vague promise by EZ leaders for up to €100 billion. The details remain obscure, yet they matter enormously. This column argues that the so-called ‘subordination effect’ of fresh official lending could put Spain on the slippery road to ruin. It argues that if sovereign bonds must be bought, this should be done in the secondary market which, would be on an equal footing with private investors and thus avoid the subordination trap.

Daniel Gros is Director of CEPS.

22 June 2012

This paper tests the hypothesis that government bond markets in the eurozone are more fragile and more susceptible to self-fulfilling liquidity crises than in stand-alone countries. We find evidence that a significant part of the surge in the spreads of the PIGS countries (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) in the eurozone during 2010-11 was disconnected from underlying increases in the debt-to-GDP ratios and fiscal space variables, and was the result of negative self-fulfilling market sentiments that became very strong since the end of 2010.

20 June 2012

In the run-up to the emergency European Council meeting at the end of June, Stefano Micossi outlines in this Policy Brief the main elements of a realistic and yet incisive policy package, capable of reassuring financial markets and a bewildered public opinion. It is more than Germany has been willing to accept so far but much less than many of the demands it will confront at the Council meeting. More importantly, it only requires a minimum of additional disbursements by the member states, while strengthening risk-sharing for sovereign and banking risks.

07 June 2012

The diabolical loop between the solvency of the banking system and the sovereign fiscal position is now apparent. In Greece it is the insolvency of the government that has sunk the banks, whereas in Spain the banks are sinking the government. What is common in both countries is that when savers see the banks and the sovereign propping each other up, they run away.  Unless the banks in both Greece and Spain are soon recapitalised, the ongoing gradual deposit flight might turn quickly into a classic run with incalculable consequences.

04 June 2012

At this point in the crisis, Daniel Gros writes that the common currency can only be saved if the governments of the troubled economies take determined action, supported by their citizens, to show that they attach overriding priority to their membership in the eurozone, even under difficult circumstances, and that they thus merit unreserved support from the rest of the member countries.

Daniel Gros is Director of the Centre for European Policy Studies

01 June 2012

If Greece leaves the eurozone, many expect that it that will be forced to default. This commentary by CEPS Director Daniel Gros argues that need not be the case.

01 June 2012

Commissioned by the European Parliament, this study outlines concrete options for improving the external representation of the euro area in international institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and the G-20. The study proposes a two-stage process, the first of which requires the creation of a permanent subcommittee of the Eurogroup Working Group (EWG) to elaborate common positions at international level.

31 May 2012

This commentary observes that fear and panic are now the driving forces in the eurozone, splitting the area into two: pushing some into bad equilibria characterised by austerity and recession, and others into good equilibria allowing their governments to borrow at almost no cost. The responses adopted so far by the ECB and the European Commission reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the crisis and fail to assuage the existential fears undermining confidence in the eurozone. The author outlines three essential steps to be taken to unify the eurozone.

23 May 2012

The eurozone countries are currently sitting on an aggregate exposure to Greece exceeding €300 billion. If the country were to exit the eurozone, it would certainly not be able to service its debt in the short run when the exchange rate overshoots.

22 May 2012

As unemployment climbs to new heights, Europe’s policy-makers are desperately casting about for the few instruments with which the EU can claim to foster growth. After a thorough examination of the facts on the ground, however, this paper finds that the North and the South of the euro area are diverging so much that they need very different policy prescriptions. Moreover, it points out that the two instruments that the EU has at its disposal to address structural problems in the South (the EIB and the Structural Funds) are unlikely to be effective this time.

15 May 2012

To ward off the threat of a worldwide depression that loomed at the end of the 2000s, governments opted to run up substantial fiscal deficits. In doing so, they sowed the seeds of the sovereign debt crisis. Saddled with often high debt burdens and modest growth prospects, developed countries’ governments must now rebalance their budgets. Doing so too rapidly, however, will choke growth. Faced with this dilemma, Japan and the United States have pursued growth policies while the euro area members are quickly trying to rebalance their budgets.

14 May 2012

This CEPS Policy Brief looks at the ways in which the euro crisis has impacted the successful functioning of the internal market of the EU and the state of play with respect to the creation of a common consolidated corporate tax base in corporate taxation.

H. Onno Ruding, is Chairman of the CEPS Board of Directors, former Minister of Finance of The Netherlands and Member of the Board of IBFD (International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation) in Amsterdam.

10 May 2012

The eurozone is caught in a ‘diabolical loop’ in which weak domestic banking systems damage sovereign fiscal positions and conversely, in which risky sovereign positions disproportionately threaten domestic banking stability. A European-level banking system could go a long way towards breaking this unfortunate loop and stabilising the eurozone. This would require a European safety net for cross-border banks.

07 May 2012

The urge to be seen to be ‘doing something’ is leading Europe’s policy-makers to rely on the few instruments with which the EU can claim to foster growth. But, as Daniel Gros points out in this Commentary, they should recognise that today’s growth crisis is quite different than it has been in the past.

07 May 2012

The analysis in this Commentary provides strong evidence showing that the burden of the adjustments to the imbalances in the eurozone between the surplus and the deficit countries is borne almost exclusively by the deficit countries in the periphery.

27 April 2012

With this new CEPS commentary, CEPS Associate Fellow Jorge Núñez Ferrer weighs in this week's debate on the 2013 EU budget, concluding that the discussion was unhelpful and mainly an exercise in political posturing and misinformation on the part of the member states.