Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin, Bertelsmann Stiftung (Publisher) (PDF)2017

Looking for the silver bullet

The debate about the future of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) has taken a centre stage in the discussion about the future of economic and monetary union (EMU). This is partly due to the possible departure of the IMF from European programmes and to the idea to make the ESM a permanent backstop for banking union. But this is also because changing the ESM treaty is seen by many as a quick-fix alternative to a proper overhaul of EMU architecture that would include EU Treaty change. Here, the cart is put often before the horse: Discussions on the precise vehicle of a reform (in this case the ESM) take priority over properly assessing the need of a tool itself. The question how to reform the ESM is not the most fundamental one facing EMU today; but ESM reform can nevertheless contribute to making EMU more stable. This paper argues that the discussion on ESM reform in fact subsumes four separate policy debates. These debates are only loosely linked functionally, but are often being connected politically. The paper gives an overview and assessment of the most important proposals in each of these four debates. read more

Jacques Delors Institut - Berlin, Bertelsmann Stiftung (Publisher) (PDF)2017

Convergence: Are the Eurozone countries too different?

The Eurozone countries are economically different. The crisis has rendered some of these differences more acute and this could destabilize the currency union. The Eurozone countries therefore need to agree on which type of convergence is most important to them and the best way to achieve it. In what areas should they converge? What differences could or should remain? And what policy instruments are required to achieve this? read more

Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin, Bertelsmann Stiftung (Publisher) (PDF)2017

EU budget: What’s the cost of Europe?

The European Union’s budget is relatively small but how it is financed and for what purpose it is used is controversial. The debate around this issue is coming to a head with the pending departure of the United Kingdom. Where does the EU get its money from? Who benefits from the spending? And what ideas are there for a more transparent and effective budget? read more

Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin, Bertelsmann Stiftung (Publisher) (PDF)2017

Banking Union: How stable are Europe’s banks?

The euro crisis was, besides an economic and sovereign debt crisis, a full-blown banking crisis. The Banking Union was thus created precisely to break the vicious circle of ailing banks and weak government finances in the Eurozone. For the moment, it consists of a European banking supervision and a single resolution framework. But the project remains incomplete. How stable are Europe's banks almost eight years after the start of the euro crisis and what is in store for the Banking Union? read more

Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin, Bertelsmann Stiftung (Publisher) (PDF)2017

Low interest rates: Is the ECB’s policy correct?

Since 2013, inflation in the euro area has been too low. In order to revive the economy and bring inflation back to target, the European Central Bank has implemented a low interest-rate policy which includes a bond-buying programme known as quantitative easing or QE. The ECB’s measures, including historically ultra-low interest rates, also bear risks. For example, some observers fear the formation of a bubble in real estate and stock markets or complain about one-sided capital gains for wealthy households. read more

Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin, Bertelsmann Stiftung (Publisher) (PDF)2017

Sovereign debt: Do we need an EU solution?

High levels of sovereign debt have become a serious issue in the Eurozone. This does not just affect the individual member states: The European debt crisis has shown that difficulties in one euro-area country can spread to the entire currency union. What strategies are being discussed for reducing sovereign debt? Would a stronger role for the EU help to reduce debt over the long term or should this be left solely to the member states? read more

Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin, Bertelsmann Stiftung (Publisher) (PDF)2017

Economic government: What kind of coordination for the Eurozone?

How are decisions made in the euro area? And how democratic are they? These questions moved to the centre of the debate during the euro crisis. Under tremendous time pressure, solutions had to be found for stabilising the euro. New institutions and rules were created such as the European Stability Mechanism, the Banking Union and the Fiscal Compact. Who makes the decisions in the Eurozone today? Is there a democratic deficit? Does the currency union need better control mechanisms – or are the old ones good enough? read more

Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin, Bertelsmann Stiftung (Publisher) (PDF)2017

European taxes: Do we need them?

In the European Union, each member state is responsible for its tax system. Different national regimes help with tax competition, but can also lead to tax evasion or unfair rules in the Single Market. That is why better coordination or even standardisation of taxes is debated. What tax regulations are there already in the Single Market? What would be the advantages and disadvantages of a European tax? And what reforms are being discussed in Europe? read more

Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin, Bertelsmann Stiftung (Publisher) (PDF)2017

The four freedoms in the EU: Are they inseparable?

The four freedoms govern the movement of goods, persons, services and capital within the EU. They are the cornerstones of the Single Market and the common currency. Many citizens see them as the greatest achievement of the European unification project. Brexit has reignited the discussion surrounding the free movement of people - that is the opportunity to live and work in any EU country. Technically speaking, it is possible to separate the four freedoms, but does it make political sense? read more