Rethinking economic policy for Europe and Germany

The Secretary General of the German Council of Economic Experts, Jochen Andritzky, presented the German Council of Economic Expert’s annual report 2016-17 at a CEPS seminar on November 23rd. In his view, the EU’s recent and excessive reliance on monetary stimulus now needed to shift towards fiscal and structural reforms. The Secretary General described Germany as the stable anchor of the EU, but stressed that future challenges require further growth-enhancing reforms in Germany. For the EU, the priority should be more competition among member states through subsidiarity, to maintain the single market, to promote free trade and to complete the architecture of the euro area. Germany, on the other hand, should rely on automatic fiscal stabilisers, use good times to build buffers, conduct further efficiency-enhancing reforms of the tax system, ensure the sustainability of the pension and health systems, make labour markets more flexible, improve equal opportunities and deregulate the services sector. The audience echoed the concerns about reliance on monetary policy but some felt that Germany could do more to enhance growth prospects for the eurozone as a whole by stimulating investment, further liberalising the service sector and by tackling imbalances.