Jens Nordvig, 25 November 2013

Having promised to do ‘whatever it takes’ to ensure the survival of the euro, the ECB now faces the problem of record high unemployment combined with a strong currency. There is accumulating evidence that the ECB is more willing to fight currency appreciation than the Bundesbank would have been. Capital inflows have been a key source of recent upward pressure on the euro. Should this continue, the ECB may need to intervene more aggressively in order to promote economic recovery in the Eurozone.

Thorsten Beck, 23 October 2013

Much has happened since VoxEU published an eBook on the banking union in Europe one year ago. In this column, the editor of the eBook reviews the developments and plans of the past year. Many of the issues flagged by eBook contributors are still relevant and have not yet been addressed. While immediate pressures seemed to have receded, the crisis is still very much with us and is still awaiting resolution.

Hans Gersbach, Volker Hahn, 07 October 2013

The publication of attributed voting records and minutes of the ECB council’s meetings would increase the influence of national governments and discourage pro-Eurozone behaviour. This column argues that this would be undesirable. Publishing non-attributed summary minutes, however, would enhance the ECB’s accountability towards the public.

Tilman Bletzinger, Volker Wieland, 05 September 2013

The ECB has promised to keep interest rates low for an “extended period of time”. In a broad hint to the profession, President Draghi stressed a reasonable forecast of this period could be extracted from a monetary policy reaction function. This column presents one such forecast based on published macro forecasts and a reaction function that fits the ECB’s past behaviour. The result is that ECB interest rates will rise by May 2014 at the latest.

Michael Burda, 15 July 2013

Eurozone national central banks that take a national perspective risk politicising the ECB’s monetary policy. This column argues that this is a significant risk that should be overcome with a fundamental overhaul of the Eurosystem. A central element would be to take the ‘national’ out of the EZ’s national central banks. Just as US regional Fed banks encompass more than one US state, EZ ‘national’ central banks area of responsibility should be redrawn along economic geography lines rather than nation lines. An example of such a proposal is provided.

Marco Annunziata, 12 February 2013

Economists and policymakers are increasingly concerned that central-bank independence is being threatened. This column argues that central banks are not losing their independence, but that their room for manoeuvre is being eroded by a lack of structural reforms and fiscal adjustment. The financial crisis has caused mission creep, pushing central banks well beyond their comfort zones and as the time comes to pull back, independent monetary policy could still be powerless against fiscal dominance.

Markus K Brunnermeier, Hans Gersbach, 20 December 2012

As governments and the EU wring their hands over banking reform, a fragile system remains in place. This column argues that the ECB’s current role undermines its independence. What the Eurozone needs to reduce undue forbearance - while preserving the ECB's independence - is a ‘diarchy’ in which both a newly built Restructuring Authority and the ECB have the power to trigger bank-restructuring.

David Miles, 27 November 2012

David Miles talks to Viv Davies about the conclusions of his recent research on quantitative easing and unconventional monetary policy. Miles discusses the different types of 'asset purchasing programmes' adopted by the Bank of England, the Fed and the ECB; they also discuss the importance of current research in these areas and the potential risks associated with quantitative easing. The interview was recorded at the Bank of England on 21 November 2012. [Also read the transcript]

Daniel Gros, 27 November 2012

An integrated banking system saved Nevada after a local real estate boom turned to bust. Without an integrated banking system, the same wasn’t true of Ireland. This column argues that comparing Ireland and Nevada shows that banking union is far more important for Europe than current proposals of fiscal union. And, in the absence of a proper banking union that covers losses, it seems ever more likely that Europe will be pushed back towards nationally segmented financial markets.

Sylvester Eijffinger, Rob Nijskens, 23 November 2012

The Eurozone is moving towards a banking union with the ECB at its centre. This column argues that there are problems with the European Commission’s proposal. The ECB can never supervise all 6000 banks in the Eurozone, supervision should be separated from monetary policy to avoid conflicts of interest, and joint deposit insurance and resolution funds must be created. Furthermore, the ECB should exert constructive ambiguity in its supervision.

Peter Bofinger, Claudia Buch, Lars Feld, Wolfgang Franz, Christoph Schmidt, 12 November 2012

The sovereign debt crisis has revealed severe flaws in the EU internal market. Common monetary policy has not been accompanied by the transfer of authority to supervise banks and risks of banks and states have become dangerously intertwined. This column summarises the proposal of the German Council of Economic Experts for a full banking union which aim at correcting these deficits.

Michael McMahon, Udara Peiris, Herakles Polemarchakis, 30 October 2012

‘Sterilisation’ - where purchases of assets by a central bank are offset by withdrawals - may help the ECB to control inflation. This column discusses how the ECB’s current approach may be fraught with danger, however. In a world where sovereign default risk is perceived to be likely, the ECB’s only real hope is that its approach makes a Eurozone default impossible.

Nicolas Véron, 29 October 2012

Eurozone leaders are firmly committed to a banking union, at least on paper. But do Member States agree on the current proposals? And what do these proposals leave out? This column argues that a dangerous combination of disagreements between Member States over contentious issues and pitfalls in the design of new institutions may well ensnare the Eurozone along its faltering path towards recovery.


Eurozone leaders are firmly committed to a banking union, at least on paper. But do Member States agree on the current proposals? And what do these proposals leave out? This column argues that a dangerous combination of disagreements between Member States over contentious issues and pitfalls in the design of new institutions may well ensnare the Eurozone along its faltering path towards recovery.

Daniel Gros, 16 October 2012

The Eurozone is currently suffering from the affects of having an interdependent banking sector without a unified body to oversee it or to rescue it in times of crisis. This column argues that the current situation is unsustainable and that the ECB should assume these responsibilities for the sake of the Eurozone as a whole.

Charles Wyplosz, 16 October 2012

Countries have various mechanisms that provide lending when a bank fails. But when bank problems far exceed available resources, central banks must be lenders of last resort, even when their role is clouded to mitigate moral hazard. This column explains the ECB is ill-equipped to act as such a lender; it doesn’t have enough control due to coordination problems across countries. The column argues this must change. The ECB must be the lender of last resort and this involves a Eurozone banking union.

Christopher Sims, 12 October 2012

Nobel laureate, Christopher Sims, talks to Viv Davies about the institutional restructuring needed to put the Eurozone on a path to sustainable recovery. Sims contrasts the structural differences of the US, Japan and the UK with the Eurozone; they discuss the role of the ECB, eurobonds, a common fiscal commitment, and the rationale for country-level default. They also discuss Sims' prophetic paper on "The Precarious Fiscal Foundations of EMU" (1999), in which he wrote about the risks of a euro crisis.The interview was recorded in Brussels on 21 September 2012.

Jacob Kirkegaard, 08 October 2012

Political pressures are rising again in Europe. This column argues that reactions in parliaments, central banks and on the street are well within the bounds of predictable reactions to hard times. These developments change nothing of significance in the calculus concerning the eventual success of the Eurozone crisis response.

Daniel Gros, Dirk Schoenmaker, 24 September 2012

As the EZ takes its first steps towards banking union, this column warns that such an approach – with banking supervision first and resolution and deposit insurance postponed to some undefined later stage – will lead to an unstable banking union. It adds that a strong European supervisor and a credible European resolution and deposit insurance authority should be introduced as part of the package.

Jacopo Carmassi, Carmine Di Noia, Stefano Micossi, 20 September 2012

The European Commission’s latest proposals for financial regulation are seen by many as the first steps towards a banking union. This column argues that there are a number of issues that need to be exposed and debated in public before the Commission decides on anything.