ECONOMIC GOVERNANCE
     
The Euro Summit of 24 October 2014 invited President Juncker, in close cooperation with the President of the Euro Summit, the President of the Eurogroup and the President of the European Central Bank, “to prepare next steps on better economic governance in the euro area.” The European Council of 18 December 2014 confirmed the mandate given to the Four Presidents. President Jean-Claude Juncker, in agreement with Presidents Donald Tusk, Jeroen Dijsselbloem and Mario Draghi, has decided to associate also the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, to this work. In February, the report " Economic and Monetary Union: the Analytical Note" was released.

June 2015, ambitious plans revealed on how to deepen the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) as of 1 July 2015 and how to complete it by latest 2025. Concrete measures were put forward to be implemented during three Stages: in the coming years, such as introducing a European Deposit Insurance Scheme, and creating a future euro area treasury in order to guarantee a rock-solid and transparent architecture of EMU. Delivering a Deeper and Fairer Economic and Monetary Union has been one of the top 10 priorities of President Juncker in his Political Guidelines. The Report, Completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union, sets out three different stages for turning the vision
into reality:

  • Stage 1 or "Deepening by Doing" (1 July 2015 - 30 June 2017): using existing instruments and the current Treaties to boost competitiveness and structural convergence, achieving responsible fiscal policies at national and euro area level, completing the Financial Union and enhancing democratic accountability
  • Stage 2, or "completing EMU”: more far-reaching actions will be launched to make the convergence process more binding, through for example a set of commonly agreed benchmarks for convergence which would be of legal nature, as well as a euro area treasury
  • Final Stage (at the latest by 2025): once all the steps are fully in place, a deep and genuine EMU would provide a stable and prosperous place for all citizens of the EU Member States that share the single currency, attractive for other EU Member States to join if they are ready to do so.

More information on the website of the European Commission.

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dia on economic governance

9 April 2013, Project Syndicate published an article by George Soros, titled 'Germany's Choice, A European Solution to the Eurozone's Problem'. Contrary to popular opinion in Germany and elsewhere, the euro crisis – for which Germany is disproportionately responsible, owing to its dominant position – is far from over. Despite the complex political and economic origins of Europe’s current malaise, the solution can be summed up in one word: Eurobonds. If countries that abide by the EU’s new Fiscal Compact were allowed to convert their entire stock of government debt into Eurobonds, the positive impact would be little short of the miraculous. The danger of default would disappear, as would risk premiums; banks’ balance sheets would receive an immediate boost, as would the heavily indebted countries’ budgets.

The euro crisis has already transformed the European Union from a voluntary association of equal states into a creditor-debtor relationship from which there is no easy escape. The creditors stand to lose large sums should a member state exit the monetary union, yet debtors are subjected to policies that deepen their depression, aggravate their debt burden, and perpetuate their subordinate position. As a result, the crisis is now threatening to destroy the EU itself. That would be a tragedy of historic proportions, which only German leadership can prevent. The EU and its Member States have taken a series of important decisions that will strengthen economic and budgetary coordination for the EU as a whole and for the euro area in particular. As a result, the EU’s interdependent economies will be better placed to chart a path to growth and job creation. The economic and financial crisis has revealed a number of weaknesses in the economic governance of the EU's economic and monetary union. The cornerstone of the EU response is the new set of rules on enhanced EU economic governance which entered into force on 13 December 2011. It has four main components:

1

Stronger preventive action through a reinforced Stability and Growth Pact (SGP - “Six Pack”) and deeper fiscal coordination: Member States are required to make significant progress towards medium-term budgetary objectives (MTO) for their budgetary balances. Expenditure benchmarks will now be used alongside the structural budget balance to assess adjustments towards the MTO. An interest-bearing deposit of 0.2% of GDP will be imposed on non-compliant euro-area countries. EU member states commit to implement a fiscal policy which aims to ensure that the national deficit does not exceed 3% of GDP and that national debt remains under 60% of GDP and will submit annual reports on their compliance with these terms which are then evaluated by both the European Commission and the Council of Ministers.

2 Stronger corrective action through a reinforced SGP: The launch of an Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) can now result from government debt developments as well as from government deficit. Member States with debt in excess of 60% of GDP should reduce their debt in line with a numerical benchmark. Progressive financial sanctions kick in at an earlier stage of the EDP. A non-interest bearing deposit of 0.2% of GDP may be requested from a euro-area country which is placed in EDP on the basis of its deficit or its debt. Failure of a euro-area country to comply with recommendations for corrective action will result in a fine.

3

Minimum requirements for national budgetary frameworks: Member States should ensure that their fiscal frameworks are in line with minimum quality standards and cover all administrative levels. National fiscal planning should adopt a multi-annual perspective, so as to attain the MTO. Numerical fiscal rules should also promote compliance with the Treaty reference values for deficit and debt.

4

Preventing and correcting macroeconomic and competitiveness imbalances: the new Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) broadens the EU economic governance framework to include the surveillance of macroeconomic trends. The aim of the MIP is to identify potential risks early on, prevent the emergence of harmful imbalances and correct the imbalances that are already in place. In this respect the objective of the MIP is to ensure that appropriate policy responses are adopted in Member States in a timely manner to address the pressing issues raised by macroeconomic imbalances. In doing so, the MIP relies on a graduated approach that reflects the gravity of imbalances and can eventually lead to the imposition of sanctions on euro area Member States should they repeatedly fail to meet their obligations under the corrective arm of the MIP. 14 February 2012 the first Alert Mechanism Report (AMR) on macroeconomic imbalances(MIP) in Member States was published.

Enforcement is strengthened by the expanded use of 'reverse qualified majority' voting. Under this voting system, a Commission recommendation or proposal to the Council is considered adopted unless a qualified majority of Member States votes against it.

Regulations were adopted on common provisions for monitoring and assessing draft budgetary plans and ensuring the correction of excessive deficit of the Member States in the euro area, on the strengthening of economic and budgetary surveillance of Member States in the euro area experiencing or threatened with serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability, on speeding up and clarifying the implementation of the excessive deficit procedure, on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances, on the strengthening of the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and coordination of economic policies, on enforcement measures to correct excessive macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area, and on the effective enforcement of budgetary surveillance in the euro area, directives on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States, and Commission Green Papers on Stability Bonds (that sets out three main options:

1. the full substitution by Stability Bond issuance of national issuance, with joint and several guarantees;
2. the partial substitution by Stability Bond issuance of national issuance, with joint and several guarantees; and
3. the partial substitution by Stability Bond issuance of national issuance, with several but not joint guarantees). The objective of the Green Paper is to have a broad debate on the issues raised.



EU Budget
vs Eurozone budget: Towards an economic union? A session during the CEPS Annual Conference 2013 with the MP, Minister for Europe, United Kingdom, the European Commissioner responsible for financial programming and a MEP and Chair, ALDE Group, former Minister of Belgium.

For discussion came how to secure future prosperity, democratic support of the people, the need for a European arranged flexible structure for the single market on goods, services and labour markets and the ratio between the 17 eurozone countries and 27 member states.

Within the 17 eurozone countries and despite the presence of varying diversity, under the community method reforms need to be more closely coordinated. Because this coordination is accompanied with solutions for fiscal capacity, quality of spend, dependences of balances of payments, mutualisation of debt (according to the Lisbon Treaty it is forbidden to have debt) and moral hazard, Treaty changes will be required.

Important is to focus on financial cooperation, the single market, trade, energy and transport


End of January 2012, 25 EU-member states agreed upon a new Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (TSCG). The Treaty aims to strengthen fiscal discipline through the introduction of more automatic sanctions and stricter surveillance, and in particular through the "balanced budget rule" (see dia on 'European Economic Governance' and the masterplan 'Towards a genuine EMU'). Member States that are Contracting Parties to the TSCG, in force since 1 January 2013, will introduce in their national rules a correction mechanism to be triggered automatically in the event of significant observed deviations from the medium-term objective or the adjustment path towards it. With this Communication the European Commission puts forward seven common principles for designing the national correction mechanisms, covering legal status, consistency with the EU framework, activation, nature of the correction in terms of size and timeline, operational instruments, escape clauses, and the role and independence of monitoring institutions. CEPS provided comment on the 'Fiscal Compact': 'The Treaty is only concerned with the framework for fiscal policy, i.e. the rules setting up national ‘debt brakes’, not their implementation. Its only remaining impact will consist of the convening of euro area summits, which are likely to regularly produce Conclusions that “Member States commit” to everything desirable (structural reforms, etc.). And, as a matter of course, these Conclusions will become irrelevant once the heads of state and government return to their capitals and become immersed in their respective domestic political realities'. Except these comments, CEPS also provided a policy brief on implications for the internal market and harmonisation of corporate taxes.

Coordination of economic and fiscal policy planning was developed in 2010 through the European Semester which represents a new approach towards economic surveillance, including a new policy-making timetable. First put into practice during the first half of 2011, it ensures that EU-level economic policies are analysed and assessed together and are suitably covered by economic surveillance.

To give further impetus to the governance reforms, 23 Member States, including six outside the euro-area (Bulgaria, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania), signed the Euro Plus Pact in March 2011. The Pact commits signatories to even stronger economic coordination for competitiveness and convergence, also in areas of national competence, with concrete goals agreed on and reviewed on a yearly basis by Heads of State or Government. The Euro Plus Pact is integrated into the European semester and the Commission monitors implementation of the commitments. The Pact builds on the existing framework of economic priorities agreed at EU level under the Europe 2020 strategy for 'smart, sustainable and inclusive' growth. The strategy sets targets in the fields of employment, innovation, climate/energy, education and social inclusion.

Getting Europe back on track also requires a healthy financial sector. Previously, the euro area Member States created the European Financial Stability Facility EFSF and in January 2011, the EU established a new financial supervision architecture. It includes a European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) for macro-prudential oversight of the financial system, and three European supervisory authorities: the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, and the European Securities and Markets Authority. Rules have also been tightened on capital requirements for banks, investment firms and insurance companies, and new rules on remuneration and bonuses will reduce incentives for short-term risk-taking. Bank stress tests have been conducted and the Commission will propose a framework to allow banks to fail in an orderly manner, thus ensuring that taxpayers don’t have to pay for bailouts.

In order to complete the single market in financial services, in 2012 proposals were presented with a view to creating a Banking Union for the eurozone and other Member States desiring to participate, with a Single Supervisory Mechanism for banks as a key element.

Also agreement on Two Pack adds to Eurozone governance reform. The EU has taken another important step towards improving economic governance in the EU with the agreement on two regulations referred to as the “Two Pack” rules. The new rules seek to enhance stability in the eurozone and to ensure continued confidence in the EU’s capacity to safeguard the long term success of the eurozone. The “Two Pack” grants the European Commission the power to analyse and evaluate national budgets and economic policy ahead of their adoption by national governments. Under the agreement the European Commission has the power to make recommendations to the national governments following a full evaluation. The first regulation provides for special measures to monitor and assess plans for countries with high or excessive government deficits. The second regulation provides special measures for countries experiencing severe financial difficulties, for example countries emerging from bail out programmes.

The agreement reached February 2013, was made possible after differences between the Council and the European Parliament over the potential creation of a debt redemption fund were reconciled. The EP wanted the fund included but the compromise laid out in the agreement saw Member States win the day. The EP got a concession that commits the European Commission to establish a working group which will study the feasibility of creating a debt redemption fund for eurozone countries with excessive sovereign debt. Such a fund would seek to pool the debts from each eurozone country where they exceed the 60% of GDP threshold established under the SGP. The working group is expected to report back on its findings of this feasibility study in 2014.

The NEUjobs project on European Labour Market Perspectives
(special webcast 15 December 2011) gives us insight in creating and adapting jobs. This webcast focussed on European labour markets and the impact of the current crisis on its mid and long term issues. It shed light on the big question if and how actual EU labor market developments will have an impact on major socio-ecological, societal, territorial and skills transitions. The Conference Board, the Centre for European Policy Studies and the London School of Economics outlined a number of scenarios, discussed the impact of growth scenarios for several sectors of the European economy and, analysed how Europe might gain an advantage over other economies by reshaping the labor market through a process of socio-ecological transition.
The adoption of the 2 Pack builds on the process of reform under way after 3 years of frenetic legislative activity which aims to improve the governance architecture of the Eurozone and was the most recent step in a process of reform that started about 3 years ago. In June 2010, the European Council adopted the Europe 2020 Strategy which sought to establish a framework for 'smart, sustainable and inclusive' growth for the European economies. This agreement established what is referred to as the European Semester which creates a formal reporting procedure for member states to present to the European Commission in the spring on their Stability and Convergence Programmes for the upcoming years. The first European Semester cycle was launched in January 2011. EU-level discussions on fiscal policy, macroeconomic imbalances, financial sector issues, and growth-enhancing structural reforms will now always take place jointly during the European semester and before governments draw up their draft budgets and submit them to national parliamentary debate in the second half of the year (the 'national semester').

On 2 March 2012, 25 member states signed the Fiscal Compact. According to the terms of the ‘Treaty on stability, coordination and governance in the Economic and Monetary Union’, which is the Fiscal Compact’s full name, contracting eurozone members will be required to introduce a balanced budget rule. This debt break must have “binding force and permanent character” and implies that national budgets are to be “balanced or in surplus”. This means that the structural deficit, which strips out interest payments and one-off measures, must be kept below 0.5% of GDP at market prices. If the ratio of government debt to GDP is significantly below 60%, as defined in the Stability and Growth Pact, signatories are allowed to reach a structural deficit of 1% of GDP at most. In case of deviation from the above rules, a correction mechanism would be triggered automatically. Countries are given, however, some wriggle room to “temporarily deviate [...] in cases of unusual events outside the control of the contracting party with a major impact on the financial position of the general government or in periods of severe economic downturn.

Coercive measures such as the Six Pack, the Two Pack and the European Semester, makes budget discipline almost inevitable.

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Trichet after his Mandeville lecture on economic governance

 

conference on changes in the multilateral system of international economic and financial policies

 


In order to prevent total global collapses and disruptions in future, soon necessary paradigms changes are needed, working on core items as responsibility sharing, innovation, fair trade, tax harmonization, banking activities connected to a banking union and on eco-social thinking and acting. All of that have to be bound up with our lives inextricably. Ethics, embodyment of a holistic vision, ability to enter into alliances, being smart and to combine are the heart of the matter. As example for paradigms changes can serve the report Outlook on the Global Agenda 2012 from the World Economic Forum.

Trichet presented his vision of the Europe of tomorrow ', where he spoke of a 'quantum leap' that should be put. According to him, the internal market should be perfected and structural measures taken and he also insisted on a European Ministry of Finance.

For several years the European Union EcoFin affairs also has been focusing on solving the crisis, but now the European economy has to get back on track. The European leaders discussed this around the European Semester 2012, the monitoring of the economic policies of the member states. Due the Summit, Jacques Pelkmans and MEP Corrien Wortmann lectured 27-02-2012 on search for economic growth in Europe.

The state of the global economy is in poor condition. The existing global financial architecture (Clingendael Policy Brief September 2012) is structurally flawed and puts in motion a rising demand for effective economic and financial policy governance on a global scale. This development represents challenges for European countries (e.g. the Netherlands and Belgium). These countries want problems recognized and solved, and they can hardly accept to play often no role of significance in (some) coalitions anymore.

Multilateralism-light, as defined under the G20, will - in theory - give green light, but only if allowed.Several countries were not allowed to participate the recent G20 summit in Mexico (18-19 June 2012) anymore. From 1 November 2012 trustee positions in the IMF of Belgium and the Netherlands are combined (*). It also seems inevitable that in time also at the World Bank emerging countries will get priority to represent their interests.

(*) There is a report of the Dutch delegation to the Bretton Woods Conference in July 1944, which summarizes about some delegations, including Belgium: "The relationship between the Dutch and Belgian delegates can only be called excellent. There was constantly a very close contact between the two delegations, which showed that their insights on every point were entirely similar. The close cooperation has undoubtedly strengthened and greatly amplified the position of Belgium and the Netherlands at the conference. By acting jointly, the delegations represented an extremely important element in the international monetary and trading system and as such they were thus recognized. The good cooperation led, among other things, to a quota system where the Netherlands and Belgium were represented both in the Bank and the Fund as executive director or alternate executive director. This opens the possibility to get an appointment with the Netherlands, for example, during the first two years a Director designated for the Fund and an alternate for the Bank and Belgium a director for the Bank and an alternate for the Fund, while for the next period 2 year roles would swapped, etc. By the close contact and exchange of information and insights both delegations retained a complete overview of the work of the conference, since either Netherlands or Belgium was represented in almost every subcommittee or special committee".


On 20 September 2011 Yves Leterme enunciated proposals on how to improve economic policy of EU member-states and McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) has examined what Europe needs to do to overcome the headwinds in the years ahead and published in October 2010 the report 'Beyond austerity: a path to economic growth and renewal in Europe'.
The crisis is a common European responsibility. The euro benefits all
of us. Europe decided to keep the euro and to take measures to assure. In doing so, there is impact of European governance on member-states and the way forward to make the E in EMU as important as the M: a new economic governance for the eurozone and the EU. Some member-states integrated efficiently, Greece entered on wrong figures.
Some main reasons that gave cause for the present situation were the ignore of SGP agreement, the slow reactions by EU and the watering down of the Lisbon process. Breaking up the euro is no option anymore: it starts a process of European disintegration, consequences for banks and other member-states are hard to foresee and to control. There is precisely some progress in ecenomic policy coordination. Europe 2020, and the Euro Plus Pact, the European Semester, a financial supervisory structure, meetings of HoGS of the eurozone, for symmetry a Six Pack that should prevent macro-economic imbalances by strengthening fiscal policy coordination, and a rescue fund (EFSF) that has been created, improved and increased.

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Every year, the ‘Cercle des Economistes’, a high-level group of economists, organises its summer conference in Aix-en-Provence. 2011 Topic 'Redefining the post-crisis state, what is next for the EU and Europe? revolved around the future role of the state in this post-crisis period. 'European societies need to learn to adjust to a new pace that seems to originate in emerging countries, today’s drivers of growth. Europe is weighed down by cumbersome procedures but it’s also endowed with important advantages. The crisis can spark off new initiatives – so it’s up to the people of Europe to seize this moment of opportunity'.
 
 
 
 

In order to design the appropriate governance institutions for the Eurozone it is important to make the right diagnosis of the nature of the debt crisis in the Eurozone. Failure to do so, can lead to designing a governance structure that is inappropriate for dealing with the problems of the Eurozone. On 25 May 2011, during a policy dialogue in the European Parliament, governance issues were introduced and discussed with the help of Paul De Grauwe´s (University of Leuven and CEPS) paper on ´the governance of a fragile eurozone.

 
 
 

 

1st April 2011 Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence organised the first conference of European Researchers. One of the presentations, in the
context of EU's multi-level system of governance, was focussed on obstacles to come to economic governance:
Economic governance: from intentions to results.

 

 
 
 

ECONOMIC GOVERNANCE in GRAPHS
(European Commission)
.

How European economic governance works according to current rules, what the future plans are to stregthen it and the current
macroeconomic situation, including forecasts
.

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According Mario Monti, the recent economic, eurozone and fiscal crises and increasing monetary integration form additional reasons to strengthen the European internal market. An important measure to take by the member states in this perspective is the removal of protectionist measures such as minimum fees and numerous clauses reducing competition

To make a timely contribution to the debate on economic governance of the EU the themes 'What kind of governance for the EU' and structural reforms for the single market were discussed during the conference 'How to get the European economy on track'. Assessed were the merits of the controversial Franco-German proposal to forge a Pact for Competitiveness and evaluate the long-term proposals for European economic governance that was on the agenda of the Spring Council at the end of March 2011.

Not only competences are required for good governance, but also committment taken by Heads of States and a lift up from national policies to EU level. But how do you do that? Pick out the free areas. But it should be sure there is political impetus and evaluation.

We have gone through the crisis and all 27 countries have their difficulties. It's hard to expect too much. According to the founders of the euro, monetary policy goes together with national policies. Causes are debt overgrow in 'GIPS' and created financial market instability. Capital flows (they will disappear on their own) and restoration of competitiveness in the South needs economic cure. Merkel is right: 'it is a debt-crisis, not an euro-crisis'. The debt crisis should be fixed and that's why there should not be add another layer of policy coordination. Eurobonds for instance means nothing. They are loans.

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Actual is also functioning of market operations. Readiness of the buy-side for new regulations and new infrastructures, a trade-off between efficiency and safety, possibilities if new technological developments can mitigate operational risks and can increase the efficiency of the infrastructure. Thorough command of markets by governments is an opinion. But poverty in the midst of plenty (heavy increase of spending power versus quality decrease of services by public sector) should be avoided and state aid should be controlled, otherwise it is not an issue of compensation restricted in conformity with the market (Altmark judgement).'

In March 2008, it was ten years ago since the final decision to move to the third and final stage of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), and the decision on which countries would be the first to introduce the euro. To mark this anniversary, the Commission undertook a strategic review of EMU. This paper, called 'Economic governance in an enlarged euro area' constitutes part of the research that was either conducted or financed by the Commission as source material for the review.

Globalization pushed national economies and rules in the backyard. The global and controversial discussion on the politics of the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and Global Players within the World Economic Forum as well as the discussion of global ecology and sustainability issues influences the definition of economy.

Joseph E. Stiglitz defines economy to be a global public good. Other economists are reclaiming the commons and give new definitions including new phaenomenons as freeware. Game theorists are disproving the self-interest hypothesis. A so-called gift economy is the topic for widespread activities of grassroot movements as well as of credit programs.

The Wealth of Nations Report 2006 of the World Bank for the first times tracks social and human capital. The change of definitions is to be continued. While the rescue operation is in progress, one is working on proposals to tighten up supervision on the Economic and Monetary Union. Euro countries have to abandon their budget-sovereignty. As soon as a country let run out of hand their budgets and it is damaging the SGP, intervention should be vigorous, for a weakened monetary union builds up a threat for the economic growth and with that the social securities, lectured Professor André Sapir 23 April 2010 on 'Can EMU survive without closer integration?'