Banking union is a vital project for the future of the Eurozone. Under the current proposal, bank supervision will be centralised but national authorities will remain responsible for recapitalising troubled banks. This leaves the system susceptible to domestic political economy constraints. This column argues that such a system can fail to be welfare improving. The inefficiencies can be mitigated, however, if the banking union is accompanied by greater electoral accountability and fiscal rules that constrain debt accumulation by national governments.
In 2004, European merger law was substantially revised, with the aim of achieving a ‘more economic approach’ to merger policy. This column discusses a recent empirical assessment of European merger cases before and after the reform. Post-reform, the outcomes of merger cases became more predictable, and the Commission prohibited fewer pro-competitive mergers. While there remains room for improvement in several aspects, the reform seems to have been successful in bringing European competition law closer to economic principles.
The lifting of transitional access restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarian workers is a hotly debated topic in the EU with big implications for public finances in destination countries. This column presents analysis of immigrants in Sweden, which never imposed access restrictions when these two countries joined the EU. Romanian and Bulgarian migrants to Sweden under this unrestricted regime make a sizeable positive contribution to Swedish public finances. Contributions can be expected to be even larger in the UK and Ireland.
The European Banking Union matures in 2014, with the ECB assuming its role as single supervisor. This column outlines the transition to the new steady state. This will involve a comprehensive balance sheet assessment, new rules regarding recapitalisation, restructuring, and resolution, and the determination of how recapitalisation costs are distributed across taxpayers in different European nations.
Though in the past two years substantial progress has been made in completing the structure of Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union, not all economic inconsistencies have been solved. This column discusses three main challenges that still need to be addressed. First, sound fiscal policies need to be conducted while keeping sustainable welfare systems. Second is the conflict between policy objectives and economic realities – vulnerable economies cannot reduce their debts and simultaneously gain competitiveness. Third, financial stability and integrated financial markets cannot be established unless the relationship between banks and their sovereigns is reformed. Addressing each of these challenges is important, and it could benefit all Eurozone members.
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- 13th Summer School in International Development Economics: Investment, Saving and Wellbeing in Developing Countries10 - 13 June 2014 / Palazzo Feltrinelli, Gargnano, Lake Garda (Italy) / Organisers: Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano, Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), Paolo Baffi Center on International Markets, Money and Regulation, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods of the University of Milan, Department of Economics, Quantitative Methods and Business Strategies of the University of Milan Bicocca, Vilfredo Pareto Doctoral Program in Economics of the University of Turin, The Lombardy Advanced School of Economic Research (LASER).
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