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Economic and european policy

In this section you find analyses and commentaries on European (and especially German) economic and fiscal policy. Particular attention is devoted to the institutional development of the EU, above all monetary union, and its individual policy areas.

252 (41-50)
September 4, 2017
Region:
Optimism about Europe’s future surged after the French elections, while the EU is increasingly losing patience with British “divorce tactics”. Franco-German initiatives will be key to set the path for European reforms but the debate is expected to only gain speed after the formation of a new German government towards the end of the year. Meanwhile, the refugee challenge and EU external relations will remain on top of Europe’s political agenda. [more]
41
August 31, 2017
Region:
During the past four years, prices for owner-occupied homes have risen by c. 30% and rents by 15% across Germany. So far, the government’s housing policy has hampered rather than promoted residential construction. A few weeks ahead of the German parliamentary elections we take a look at the housing policies spelled out in the election programmes of the six largest parties. There are several ideas to make it easier for people, in particular families with children, to buy homes. However, additional policy-induced stimulus for demand might push prices upwards, particularly since supply is relatively inelastic. In that case, any electoral gifts would not benefit the families, but only the property sellers. [more]
42
August 28, 2017
Region:
Since 2010, the German government’s tax revenues have gone up by one third to EUR 706 bn. On the face of it, Germany is a low-tax country, with a tax-to-GDP rate of 22.9%. The picture is misleading, however, because the German welfare state is largely funded by additional taxes, i.e. social security contributions. The overall tax burden on German citizens is higher than the OECD average and the tax structure in Germany is unfavourable. It would appear to make sense to flatten out the steep trajectory of rising marginal income tax rates for people in the lower and mid-range earnings brackets. Germany’s political parties are pledging to reform income tax in order to appeal to median voters and their core support. Overall, the amount by which the burden on taxpayers would be eased varies substantially across the parties. [more]
43
August 22, 2017
Region:
Analyst:
In Germany, the number of successful technology start-ups with a novel product is lagging behind in an international context. Considering the key role of start-ups in innovative entrepreneurship and their contribution to the real economy, reasons and key points of action to increase start-up activity should be identified. Excessive red-tape is a major hindrance and mainstream political parties are aiming to reduce excessive bureaucracy in start-up creation. Improved access to bank lending and venture capital investments are necessary to broaden post-launch funding alternatives. Brexit could be boon especially for the start-up scene in Berlin if relocation formalities are lowered. Enhancing a “can-do” culture and taking entrepreneurship among immigrants into account in policymaking have paramount importance, too. The Nordic start-up ecosystem provides important takeaways to boost start-up creation. [more]
44
August 8, 2017
Region:
Defence policy and defence expenditures have moved into the light of public attention ahead of September parliamentary elections, fuelled by US criticism of Europe’s NATO spending, the experience of the refugee crisis but also regained momentum for European integration. While NATO membership and EU defence integration is supported by the German public, a majority rejects an increase in the military budget. To reach NATO’s 2% of GDP target by 2024, defence expenditures would have to more than double within seven years. Mainstream parties agree that a more holistic security framework is required but they are divided on the details, in particular when it comes to the question on how much to spend for it. [more]
45
August 8, 2017
Region:
Forecast for German Q2 GDP lifted to 0.8%. Strong private consumption boosts retail sales. Germany’s fiscal outlook: Goldilocks will not last forever. The view from Berlin: Asylum policy & refugee issues back on stage. [more]
46
August 3, 2017
Region:
The benign economic and public environment allows to fundamentally address shortcomings of the E(M)U. The next German government’s term is faced with numerous challenges ranging from Brexit and its impact on the next EU Budget to migration and the upgrade of the euro area. A revitalised relation with France provides the opportunity for substantive steps to further stabilise the euro area albeit Germany and France need to find common ground on many issues and seek the support of EU partners. European politics is still less of a topic for the German electorate not least as mainstream parties are all various shades of pro-European. However, the next government’s party composition is likely to matter for both speed and scope of changes on European level. [more]
47
July 19, 2017
Region:
In an international comparison, Germany’s fiscal situation is very good – thanks to robust GDP growth and zero interest rates. In the short to medium term, dynamic revenue growth should help to ensure that Germany’s fiscal situation remains comfortable, even though expenses look set to rise strongly as well. Public finances are currently benefiting from buoyant growth, low interest rates and a “demographic respite”. Rising interest rates and the ageing society look set to put the public finances under considerable pressure from the middle of the coming decade. However, the long-term fiscal risks do not appear to play a major role in the current election campaign. [more]
49
July 7, 2017
Region:
The German economy is likely to have maintained its rapid growth rate in the second quarter. Consumer spending, in particular, has been stronger than expected thanks to the recent fall in oil prices and the continuing significant rise in employment levels. We have revised our GDP forecast for the whole year upwards to 1.6% (1.3%) which is equivalent to a calendar-adjusted rate of 2%. Considerable house price increases in 2017 and 2018 – and more significant wealth effects? The view from Berlin. Summertime and election campaigns. [more]
50
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