October 2, 2013 Leave a comment
A political storm brewing in Italy has the potential to disrupt the calm that has prevailed in the euro area.
News and views on the euro area's debt crisis
May 13, 2013 Leave a comment
It looks as though the center-right Citizens for European Development party won Bulgaria’s early elections, the same party that triggered the vote by resigning from government amid protests in February. So has anything changed?
The short answer is yes. The elections show that Bulgarians have lost all faith in a corrupt elite, and the next government — whatever shape it takes — is likely to be weak and unstable. Read more of this post
May 7, 2013 Leave a comment
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi surprised markets and analysts last week by saying the central bank is open to an unconventional stimulus tactic: pressuring banks to lend by charging them a fee for parking cash at the ECB.
The development does more to highlight the limits of the ECB’s powers than to demonstrate its boldness in dealing with the euro area’s economic slump. Read more of this post
April 28, 2013 Leave a comment
Anti-austerity fever is sweeping Europe as policy makers decide the way to get from crisis to growth involves higher spending. Well, not so fast.
The fever has already spread to the highest levels. At the International Monetary Fund’s recent spring meetings in Washington, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and her deputy, David Lipton, repeatedly urged euro-area countries to focus on investment rather than budget cuts. Read more of this post
April 19, 2013 Leave a comment
The ink on the provisional bailout agreement for Cyprus was hardly dry last month before bond markets shifted their attention to Slovenia, another small euro- area country with a banking problem. The Slovenian government’s borrowing costs subsequently shot up.
The fear that Slovenia might be the next Cyprus, with international creditors again forcing losses onto bank bondholders and uninsured depositors, is only partly justified. Slovenia isn’t Cyprus, and its rescue program, when it comes, will probably look like a hybrid between the Spanish-style bailout and the Cyprus-style bail-in. Read more of this post
April 15, 2013 Leave a comment
The most effective way to block any measure in the European Union is to say it requires a treaty change. This is the sucker punch German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble delivered at an April 13 meeting with his EU counterparts in Dublin.
According to Schaeuble, the EU can’t make more progress towards setting up a banking union within the existing EU treaties. Germany says that a treaty change is needed to properly separate the banking supervision and monetary policy sides of the European Central Bank, once the ECB takes over supervisory duties for all 17 euro area countries. Read more of this post
April 10, 2013 Leave a comment
With a title like “The Eurosystem Household Finance and Consumption Survey,” the European Central Bank’s latest piece in its Statistics Paper Series doesn’t sound like a page-turner. It has received a lot of attention, though, because of its conclusion that the poorest households in the euro area are German.
These findings are likely to incite a lot of resentment among German taxpayers, who will no doubt feel all the more strongly that they shouldn’t have to bailout other countries where households are even wealthier than theirs. So the study deserves some scrutiny. Read more of this post