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EU Monitor

The series "EU Monitor" focuses on political, economic and monetary developments in the enlarged EU. The spectrum ranges from political commentaries and reform of the EU institutions to matters pertaining to the European Economic and Monetary Union, financial-market and banking aspects, and the consequences of enlargement for specific sectors and countries.

90 (31-40)
January 24, 2017
Region:
It is hard to overstate the importance of trade policy for Europe. The EU28 is the largest trading bloc, the top trading partner for about 80 countries worldwide and ranks 1st for in- and outbound investment. The EU’s free trade agreements (FTAs) vary substantially, depending on partners and policy priorities. “New generation trade agreements” go beyond traditional tariff reductions, including issues like services trade, intellectual property or investment. EU agreements to foster trade (and investment), however, have sparked mixed feelings more recently given the backlash against globalisation as well as EU-internal controversies over the power to strike such deals. Yet, the EU’s ability to conclude trade deals is also contingent on political support. Rising scepticism about globalisation means, that (potential) distributional effects of FTAs and their (potential) interaction with national legislation, is going to feature more prominently throughout negotiations and in the public debate. [more]
31
December 6, 2016
Region:
Analyst:
Inequality is dominating the political debate in various countries still characterised by sluggish economic recovery and high unemployment even several years after the financial crisis. In this note we look at trends, drivers and solutions. Four points stand out from the trends. First, global income inequality has increased over the last three decades. Second, the integration of the EM into the global economy has allowed aggregate income levels to converge towards AE levels, lifting millions out of poverty. Third, the AE have been better able to control income inequality via redistribution. Fourth, aggregates can be deceptive. Rising income inequality is associated with globalisation, technological change and migration. At the same time they have had an undeniably positive impact on aggregate income. The policy dilemma is in resolving the tension between the increase in income and its unfair distribution. [more]
32
November 23, 2016
Analyst:
Despite a growing role of electronic payments, demand for cash is on the rise in Europe. Euro cash in circulation has increased to EUR 1.1 trillion, three times as much as in 2003. Cash limits the power of monetary authorities, provides data protection and can therefore act as a guarantor of civil liberties. On the other hand, it is often associated with a stronger shadow economy, even though the shift towards a cashless society seems to trigger higher levels of card fraud. [more]
33
September 30, 2016
Region:
Brexit affects regional policy both in the UK and in the EU27. It has a direct impact via financial adjustments for the individual funds, and indirect effects, possibly influencing the budgetary debates to come and adjusting regional policy priorities. However, the effects are highly contingent on the timing of Brexit and the planning processes and preparations for the new EU budget beyond 2020. The biggest stakes are potential changes to the structural funds which invest all across the EU. Finally, there is the issue of possible future cooperation between the EU27 and the UK after a Brexit. In principle, regional policy programmes already provide for some options here. However, the specific arrangements and conditions are only going to be defined as part of the negotiations to structure the new relationship. [more]
34
September 29, 2016
Region:
Analyst:
Ensuring sufficient funding for European start-ups forms an integral part of the emerging European Capital Markets Union (CMU). Cost-efficient solutions are necessary to reverse the 40% decline in small IPOs in recent years. To strengthen bank lending to start-ups, reviving the securitisation market and potentially establishing an SME-covered bond market is crucial. Venture capital investments are also subdued – most recently, they were only one tenth of the level in the US. To increase them, institutional investors should be granted more flexibility in their portfolio allocations. Finally, the EU hosts more than 500 crowd funding platforms. A common legal and regulatory approach could stir consolidation and thereby reduce search costs for investors and borrowers alike. [more]
35
June 17, 2016
Region:
The Juncker Plan set out to boost investment in Europe and can show some progress so far. After operating for about a year, a total of EUR 12.8 bn financing of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) has been approved by the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund. This is expected to trigger EUR 100 bn of total investment according to estimates by the institutions. The European Commission has already called for extension of EFSI beyond the initial three year period ideally increasing its scale and scope. However, considerations about EFSI’s future need to be based on thorough evaluation of effectiveness and demonstrated added value. After the first year, there is -quite naturally- more information on activity than evidence on impact. To that effect, continuous monitoring and mid-term stock-taking are key to inform the debate about EFSI's future. [more]
36
June 7, 2016
Region:
Fiscal councils can improve the sustainability of public finances. They can increase transparency and accountability of fiscal policymaking by providing unbiased information to the public and stakeholders in the budget process. The design of their mandates, independence, and their public role are key conditions determining effectiveness. The new European Advisory Fiscal Board (EAFB) can be a valuable addition but is unlikely to be a game changer. Far-reaching reforms on the Union’s fiscal framework remain contingent on political will. Independence is crucial for fiscal councils to have an impact. This holds for both the EAFB and national fiscal councils. In addition, cooperation between the new EAFB and national bodies is a necessary requirement for a “European System of Fiscal Boards” to work effectively. [more]
37
April 29, 2016
Region:
With the Single Resolution Mechanism taking full effect in 2016, winding-up large European banks in distress has become a more realistic scenario than ever before. One of the key elements of such a resolution is the bail-in tool. It is supposed to ensure that for investors, higher returns also involve higher risk, thereby establishing greater discipline and differentiation in markets for bank debt. Indeed, our analysis shows that market participants see the new bail-in regime as credible, which is a necessary precondition for a successful application. Important issues that still remain are the market depth for bail-in instruments and legal clarity about bail-in hierarchies. In any case, banks’ funding costs are likely to rise as a result, especially in the medium term. [more]
38
January 21, 2016
Region:
Analyst:
Our analysis on labour mobility shows that mobility between EMU countries is relatively low compared to the US. EMU mobility was far higher in the post-crisis period and increased significantly since 2007. In particular, the ongoing, pronounced variation of the labour market situation across EMU countries should remain a driving force of bilateral migration. The higher mobility provides some limited hope for the ECB. However, the increased competition caused by the jump of migration from non-EMU countries will probably put the increased EMU labour mobility at risk, which was dominated by the shift of flows in the direction of Germany as EMU’s stability anchor since the start of the crisis. [more]
39
December 23, 2015
Region:
The financial and economic crisis brought development banks back in the spotlight. They are seen as part of the economic policy toolkit for overcoming cyclical and structural difficulties in economies, complementing financial systems by improving their functioning and bolstering economic resilience. Interest in development banking to promote growth and boost investment has increased especially in Europe of late. Given the current economic environment and changes in Europe’s banking and financial markets, development banks are bound to continue playing an important role in the coming years. Rather than crisis relief, their focus is shifting (back) to supporting structural change in economies. Here, they can play a useful complementary role, focusing on areas of market failure but risks lie with potential “overburdening” of development banks and setting expectations too high for what they can achieve. [more]
40
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