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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.

86 (41-50)
March 20, 2015
Region:
In the EU there is ongoing debate about so-called "social benefit tourism". Not only supporters of populist parties, but also broader sections of the population say that the current rules on free movement and coordination of social security systems virtually invite people from southern, central and eastern Europe to migrate into the social security systems of more prosperous partner countries and thus overstrain these systems. Reforms should, at the very least, aim at making the current law less contestable and easier for national authorities to apply. Much argues in favour of taking a generally more restrictive approach. The closer coordination of the social security systems sought in various quarters is not suitable as a driver of European integration. [more]
41
February 26, 2015
Region:
Analyst:
Money market funds are important financial players in Europe and the US, offering investors capital preservation and daily liquidity on the one hand, while providing short-term funding in money markets on the other. However, the European and US markets differ in their structures and economic functions: In Europe, where the market is split into two distinct segments, MMFs’ balance sheets reflect to a large degree intermediation within the financial sector and a strong investment focus on bank debt. In the US, by contrast, a homogeneous set of industry standards exists and MMFs’ business is geared more towards direct intermediation between non-financial sectors. [more]
42
February 6, 2015
Region:
With the independence referendum in Scotland and unofficial polls in Catalonia and Veneto, separatist aspirations in Europe were recently given a boost. In regions seeking greater self-determination or even full secession, not only emotional and cultural aspects play a role but also concrete financial motives. Nearly all the regions seeking greater autonomy are among the wealthiest in their respective countries and far outstrip the national average in terms of per capita income. Moreover, some of them are substantial net contributors in regional redistribution systems. [more]
43
November 25, 2014
Region:
The introduction of a common European unemployment insurance scheme would be a conceivable option to increase the eurozone's resistance to severe asymmetric shocks. This would provide relief in the short term to countries facing cyclically induced higher unemployment. In principle, such a solution could function without redistribution between countries, but its practical implementation would be a complex undertaking. One alternative proposal would be a type of insurance for "catastrophic" shocks that only provides financial support in the event of a very strong surge in unemployment. [more]
44
October 14, 2014
Region:
Analyst:
SMEs’ access to finance remains a pressing problem in many parts of the euro area as SMEs largely rely on bank loans for funding. Our findings show that it is mainly the banks’ own refinancing costs in capital markets and their risk perceptions regarding SMEs which give rise to constraints. Of the steps taken to spur bank lending, the ECB’s LTROs seem to have had limited success. Securitisation of SME loans on the other hand has the potential to bridge the gap between SMEs’ funding needs and the availability of bank loans. Public-sector and market-based initiatives to improve SME financing are of great importance as well: for the former, private-sector involvement is crucial; as for the latter, overall success has been mixed so far. [more]
45
September 26, 2014
Region:
The interest for higher democratic accountability in the EU is stronger than ever. Indeed, there is scope for action for stronger involvement of national legislatures at EU level. Within the time frame of the eighth legislative period of the European Parliament (2014-2019), an interinstitutional agreement is a viable option. This could lay down a working definition of subsidiarity, enhance interparliamentary cooperation, and structure the use of ‘yellow cards’. In the medium term, a stronger role for national parliaments would require outright treaty revision. [more]
46
September 15, 2014
Region:
The future of the British EU membership has become one of the most pressing concerns for the EU. The EU-British relationship has always been one of special character but a number of recent developments have led to a ‘Brexit’ gaining momentum. Only the UK itself will be able to rationalise the domestic debate on EU membership. Economically, Britain and the EU are inextricably linked. Realistic estimates predict losses in the range of 1 to 3% of British GDP in case of a Brexit. Likewise, the Single Market would shrink by 15%. [more]
47
July 25, 2014
Region:
Sub-sovereign bonds are a segment that has attracted little attention to date. Bonds are the dominant form of funding for Germany's Länder, though, and they also play an important role for the regions in Spain. While the Länder benefit from Germany’s excellent sovereign rating, only those Spanish regions not forced to request financial assistance from the central government at the height of the debt crisis have recently been able to obtain financing via the capital market. In France the issuance by the municipalities is likely to increase due to the newly established Agence France Locale. A local authority finance agency is also in the process of being introduced in the United Kingdom. The importance of the sub-sovereign bond market crucially depends on country-specific institutional arrangements. [more]
48
July 14, 2014
Region:
Migration patterns within the eurozone have changed fundamentally. While prior to the crisis many citizens from Central and Eastern European EU countries migrated to Spain and other peripheral countries, the westward migration is now primarily directed to the core. The crisis has also triggered increasing migration from the periphery to the core. Eurozone migration acts as a sensible adjustment mechanism in the labour markets. In Germany it contributes to the reduction of bottlenecks in the market for qualified labour, whereas in the GIPS it functions like a safety value. Migration also fosters growth in the host countries, while the impact on the GIPS is ambiguous. Emigration reduces persistent structural unemployment especially in problem sectors like construction. It also helps to rein in public spending. However, the huge swing in the migration balance, especially in Spain, weighs on domestic demand. Higher remittances would be helpful to mitigate the shock from the outflow of purchasing power. While fears of a brain drain are overstated, lasting migration deficits would accelerate population ageing in the periphery. [more]
49
July 9, 2014
Region:
The transatlantic integration of financial markets has suffered a serious setback since the crisis of 2007. Since then, the countries affected have fundamentally overhauled the regulatory framework governing financial markets. However, this stricter regulation has led to regulatory divergence: Divergent rules on capital, liquidity, derivatives and banking structures are threatening to fragment the financial markets. Slightly divergent national policy preferences, the institutional framework and the relevant partners' differing ideas on reform have been the main factors driving this unfortunate trend. The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) provides a good opportunity to lay strong institutional foundations for regulatory cooperation on financial services as well. Responsibility for creating internationally harmonised rules on financial market regulation rests with the G20 leaders. [more]
50
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