Talking point
Come on you (digital) inventors and entrepreneurs!
The opportunities provided by digital structural change are being talked up heavily, and the shape they will take over the long term can only be guessed at. Today, everyone can participate interactively in digital spaces as long as they have access to the internet. Flexible and varied relationships are formed between people and their diverse identities in the online and offline worlds. Experimental forms of participation and collaboration will become more important in the medium term, which will continually influence the value creation process in many firms. Digitalisation is thus changing our social and economic lives as well as the way that we interact with one another and how we (have to learn to) handle (personal) data in future. [more]
Global financial markets
SME financing in the euro area: New solutions to an old problem
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]
European integration
Referees or spectators? National Parliaments and subsidiarity in the VIIIth European Parliament
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]
Spotlight on Germany
Interactive maps
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