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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.

9 Documents
March 23, 2017
Region:
1
With developments in the UK and the US, populism was a key theme in 2016. But does the perception of 2016 as “the year of the populists” really fit for Europe? A closer look suggests that while populism was an omnipresent theme in public discourse, support for populist parties in polls rather remained stable and elections did not translate into outright populist wins. The rise of populist parties has however been a multi-year trend. Populists can affect national politics in various ways. One possible effect is that forming a government (coalition) often gets more complicated and time-consuming and results in more fragile governments. Another is populists’ potential impact on policy discussions’ style and content. Pursuing policies with long-term benefits but which are often not instantly popular becomes more difficult ‒ both at the national and the European level. [more]
January 24, 2017
Region:
2
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]
September 30, 2016
Region:
3
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]
June 17, 2016
Region:
4
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]
June 7, 2016
Region:
5
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]
December 23, 2015
Region:
6
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]
November 11, 2015
Region:
7
The single market is and remains the centrepiece of Europe’s economic architecture – but current single market arrangements are struggling to keep pace with the digital economy. With digitisation advancing, adapting single market rules becomes increasingly important to ensure its functioning and digital technologies could help unlock some of the remaining single market benefits. The European Commission has made the digital single market (DSM) a key priority, put forward a dedicated strategy in May 2015 and recently announced further steps to strengthen the internal market. Big expectations have been attached to the DSM – yet the gains associated with it are unlikely to materialise automatically. Will Europe’s digital strategy succeed? [more]
August 19, 2015
Region:
8
Reform of deposit guarantee schemes (DGS) in the EU has followed a gradual approach. The latest reform established common requirements on financing for national schemes but funds remain separate. The debate about the future of DGS has been revived recently, though. The five presidents' report on completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union put DGS reform back into the larger reform discussion and identified deposit insurance as one of the areas of the Banking Union still pending completion. While joint deposit insurance may seem a rather long-term option, several short- and mid-term suggestions to complement DGS have been raised. They put an emphasis on adapting the current setup with a view to increase back-up financing capacity of individual schemes. Ideas include i) strengthening the network of DGS and possibilities for bilateral lending, ii) establishing a reinsurance scheme, iii) developing a common fiscal backstop to national DGS. [more]
June 16, 2006
Region:
9
Neither theory nor empirical observations can justify an interventionist industrial policy. Under the euphemism of economic patriotism, a policy based mainly on protectionist measures and state support will ultimately harm the competitiveness of affected industries. Such an approach threatens the viability of the single European market. A more promising alternative would be an economic policy that offers growth-enhancing framework conditions to create an attractive environment for domestic firms and foreign investors alike. [more]
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