EU policies

Marco Buti, Gabriele Giudice, José Leandro, 13 July 2020

The crisis generated by the Covid-19 pandemic has required rapid and strong action. It also entails key choices, including on how the EU could help mitigate the impact of Covid-19, foster the economic recovery and support the dual green and digital transitions. In September 2019, before the crisis, the Directorate General for Economy and Finance of the European Commission organised a workshop on strengthening the institutional architecture of the EMU. This column introduces a new eBook which presents the main ideas discussed at the workshop.

Marco Buti, 13 July 2020

Both the severity of the recession in Europe in 2020 and the subsequent bounce back of economies are likely to differ markedly across member states. Avoiding that the current crisis risks will be remembered as the Great Fragmentation is a key goal of the EU strategy. This column looks at the lessons learned during the financial crisis, and argues that a more consensual narrative, the lower risks of moral hazard and the rising political awareness that Europe has to count on ‘indigenous’ growth drivers provide a better chance of adopting an ambitious EU policy response. Whether it will also lead to deeper political integration, will depend on finalising long-lasting open institutional 'chantiers' such as Banking Union and Capital Markets Union.  

John Hassler, Per Krusell, Morten Ravn, Kjetil Storesletten, 07 July 2020

The responses to Covid-19 have had direct economic consequences of historic proportions. In reaction to this challenge, this column was prepared by four main authors and then discussed within a large group of research-active macroeconomists who also signed the final document. The column discusses the nature of the shock and the challenges for economic policy in Europe in the current and next phases of the crisis. In addition to outlining some basic principles for guiding domestic economic policy, it also calls for clear communication of policy to minimise uncertainty, for cooperation across countries along several dimensions, and for a clear and unified strategy in the management of national debts.

Maarten Verwey, Björn Döhring, 07 July 2020

Forecasters agree that the economic fallout from COVID-19 has caused the sharpest drop in economic activity in Europe and globally since WWII. Just how deep the drop of activity was in the second quarter, which sectors were most strongly affected by containment measures, and how swift the rebound will be as they are gradually lifted is still very uncertain. This column describes how the European Commission’s Summer 2020 interim European Economic Forecast now estimates a deeper drop of output in the second quarter of the current year than was anticipated earlier. The recovery is also now expected to be less swift than was projected in Spring, with differences across Member States set to be more pronounced. Minimising hysteresis and avoiding persistent economic divergences within the EU and euro area requires the rapid agreement and deployment of common support measures at the EU level. The risk otherwise is of significant distortions to the internal market and of even deeper divergences between countries that could ultimately threaten the smooth functioning of the monetary union. 

Carolina Abate, Assia Elgouacem, Tomasz Kozluk, Jan Stráský, Cristiana Vitale, 07 July 2020

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, governments are taking equity stakes in financially distressed companies, potentially risking market distortions. Using micro-level evidence for OECD members, this column shows that in countries where state-owned enterprises are subject to the same market forces as their competitors, they perform on par with private firms. Additionally, it analyses OECD product market regulation indicators to gain insights into areas of corporate governance that would benefit from reforms. It recommends governments to impose strict recovery plans on the firms benefiting from state interventions, set clear conditions for exit from state ownership, and rely on independent advisors to ensure sound valuations of investments and divestments.

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