Greece, Ireland, and more recently Portugal have applied for EU and IMF financial aid. This column argues the accompanying adjustment programmes should be modified to reflect the balance of payments and external debt crises these countries face. It suggests that these countries’ public and private debt should be restructured and their tax structure should be rebalanced to replicate the effect of currency devaluation and so improve these countries’ external competitiveness.
Ricardo Cabral, 15 May 2011
Richard Baldwin, 25 December 2010
Vox takes its annual break between 25 December 2010 and 2 January 2011. This column documents the coevolution of VoxEU and the global economic crisis since June 2007. It also highlights a few columns that readers should read (or re-read) in preparation for the Eurozone’s next crisis.
Charles Wyplosz, 19 December 2010
Lorenzo Bini-Smaghi – Member of the ECB's Executive Board – has produced a brilliant defence of the no-default strategy currently pursued by the Eurozone authorities. This column argues that instead of ruling out highly plausible outcomes, the ECB should explain how it will react if defaults happen. By not making adequate preparations, it may be raising the odds of a very bad scenario.
Daniel Gros, 05 December 2010
Muddling through isn’t working. This column argues that troubled Eurozone nations should simultaneously open restructuring talks while continuing to service their debts normally. Germany, France, and other core Eurozone nations would have to stand ready to recapitalise the banks most exposed to the restructured debt. The ECB would then stabilise the banking system and the EFSF would stabilise sovereign debt. This big bang could be prepared in a weekend; the market already seems to be pricing it in.
Daniel Gros, 05 December 2010
Despite its large size relative to the small Irish economy, last weekend’s bailout is not working. Risk premiums continue to rise. This column argues that part of the problem lies in a seemingly innocuous provision in the rescue facility that is to replace the current European Financial Stability Facility in 2013. The argument is tricky, but the heart of the problem is the insistence that rescue financing be senior to private debt while simultaneously ruling out rescheduling of short-term debt.
Guido Tabellini, 05 October 2010
The current European economic governance needs reform. This column argues that rather than trying to invade national governments’ autonomy in economic policy, the European authorities should focus on the transfer of sovereignty in the field of financial supervision.
Stefan Gerlach, John Lewis, 27 July 2010
Monetary policy during the global crisis entered unchartered territory. This column suggests that fear of a global recession may have led policymakers to cut rates more aggressively in order to prevent the need for negative interest rates.
Guido Tabellini, 26 May 2010
Improvisation in handling the crisis in Greece has given the impression that governments and European institutions are not capable of facing the toughest challenges. This column reminds us that in times like these, the credibility of institutions is essential and rests on consistency. The ECB decision to "sterilise" the purchase of bonds with inverse operations to drain liquidity puts this credibility at risk.
Michele Lenza, Lucrezia Reichlin, 16 February 2010
What effects have the recent exceptional monetary policy interventions had on loans and unemployment, and what are the possible effects of phasing them out? This column provides quantitative estimates for the Eurozone, arguing that that the exceptional policies affect the economic via the spread between the policy rate and the market rate on overnight deposits rather than through their effect on the monetary base.
Emil Stavrev, Martin Cihák, Thomas Harjes, 15 January 2010
The global crisis forced central banks to take unconventional measures. This column says that the ECB’s “enhanced credit support” helped support the transmission of monetary policy by reducing money market term spreads. The substantial increase in the ECB’s balance sheet also likely contributed to a reduction in government bond term spreads and a somewhat flatter yield curve.
Sylvester Eijffinger, 24 October 2009
Governments are restructuring their financial supervision systems. This column warns that the proposed new structure for European financial supervision is poorly coordinated and will not help in a systemic crisis. It discusses how the ECB might coordinate macro-prudential supervision in the euro area.
Giorgio Barba Navaretti, Giacomo Calzolari, Guido Ferrarini, Alberto Pozzolo, 08 April 2009
The crisis has brought multinational banks and their cross-border activities to the forefront of European regulatory concerns. This column argues that such banks are critical to successful EU financial integration and says that the appropriate response is to establish multinational regulation to match multinational banks. It proposes a European System of Banking Supervision and harmonisation of regulating banking groups.
Lans Bovenberg, Coen Teulings, 04 April 2009
Some analysts have argued that the European is poorly positioned to address the crisis since its economic integration has outpaced its integration of politics and governance. This column says that, in the face of the crisis, Europe must now decide between political integration and economic disintegration. It argues for EU-wide banking reforms, financial regulation, macroeconomic policies, and global coordination.
Carmine Di Noia, Stefano Micossi, 01 April 2009
What are feasible policy responses to the crisis? This column argues for simple but significant changes in international imbalances, financial regulation, global coordination, and micro-prudential regulation.
Willem Buiter, 25 March 2009
The last column in this series on fiscal aspects of central banking reviews the differences in fiscal backing for the Bank of England, the US Federal Reserve, and the European Central Bank.
Willem Buiter, 25 March 2009
The third column in this series discusses the ECB’s lack of fiscal backing in detail and suggests three ways in which it might be provided by EU governments.
Willem Buiter, 24 March 2009
The second of this four-column series on fiscal aspects of central banking discusses the institutional constraints on quantitative easing. It argues that the ECB can and should engage in quantitative easing since its independence gives it a credible non-inflationary exit strategy. The Fed, however, seems heading for a bout of inflation stemming from Congressional pressure. Buiter argues that the Bank of England’s situation lies between.
Willem Buiter, 08 May 2010
First published on 24 March 2009, this column is more relevant than ever. In it Willem Buiter argues that the ECB’s lack of fiscal backing is both unusual among major central banks and a severe handicap – it is a factor in why the ECB is “fiddling while the Eurozone burns” by hesitating to undertake quantitative easing started by the Fed, Bank of England, and others.
Barry Eichengreen, 20 January 2009
2008 was the year of asymmetric financial shocks for the Eurozone, but 2009 will be the year of the symmetric economic shock. All of Europe is slipping simultaneously towards recession and the threat of deflation. Here one of the world’s leading international economists explains that a common monetary policy response is optimal. Euro interest rates should be cut to zero and quantitative easing undertaken, all complemented by fiscal expansion by Eurozone nations that can afford it. What started as the euro’s greatest challenge could be its salvation, but only if policy makers act swiftly.
Jeffrey Frankel Frankel, 24 December 2008
Trade among euro members has increased 10-15% since the introduction of the euro, a far smaller effect than estimated prior to the currency's introduction. What explains the discrepancy between the European experience and previous history? This column explores the difficulty of explaining the difference.