EU institutions

Pierre Beynet, 11 October 2018

European fiscal rules have become overly complex over time. Some consider them too lax to ensure fiscal sustainability, while others see them as too rigid to ensure adequate smoothing of economic activity in bad times. This column, part of the Vox debate on euro area reform, argues that to make the rules more effective, they should be simplified and focus on expenditure growth, while avoiding reliance on unobservable concepts such as structural fiscal balances. Increased ownership requires more flexibility and built-in positive incentives, such as allowing deviations when financed with GDP-linked bonds, which would also improve fiscal sustainability.

Julien Acalin, 10 October 2018

The idea of growth-indexed bonds has recently regained momentum in policy circles, but research has shown they are unlikely to substantially decrease the risk of a debt explosion in advanced economies if not issued through a large and coordinated mechanism. This column, part of the VoxEU debate on euro area reform, proposes such a mechanism for the euro area – a European Debt Agency issuing securitised safe and risky European bonds backed by country-specific growth-indexed bonds.

Vincent Legroux, Imène Rahmouni-Rousseau, Urszula Szczerbowicz, Natacha Valla, 05 October 2018

Among the tools used by central banks to tame the financial crisis, some – such as haircuts applied by the central bank to the collateral posted at its provision of central liquidity to the banking system – have gone largely unnoticed. This column introduces a liquidity mismatch index to quantify the extent to which central banks effectively supported bank liquidity. The analysis suggests that in the case of French banks, the ECB alleviated banks’ liquidity mismatch significantly between 2011 and 2015.

Nicolo Fraccaroli, Alessandro Giovannini, Jean-Francois Jamet, 04 October 2018

Central bank independence is a cornerstone of monetary policy, but since the Global Crisis many have questioned the legitimacy of giving policymaking power to unelected officials. The column analyses the way that the ECB's accountability framework functions, and finds the ECB and the European Parliament have increased the intensity and focus of their exchanges since the crisis. Despite populism, the tone of exchanges has remained positive.

Jean Pisani-Ferry, 02 October 2018

A year ago, a group of 14 French and German economists joined forces with the aim of forging common proposals for euro area reforms. Their report gave rise to a lively discussion among officials and academics. This column summarises the group's proposals and also addresses some of the points raised in a subsequent Vox debate on the topic.

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