The euro area reform deal is a disappointing compromise

The euro area reform deal is a disappointing compromise. It does not advance Europe; rather, this deal reveals that apparently, another serious crisis must occur before governments will abandon their national egotisms. The lowest common denominator in the negotiations was so low that little is likely to change. The compromise regarding the banking union is so vague I doubt it will be realistic to implement it soon. Agreements on the capital market union and to advance integration in the internal … [continue reading]

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ECB Europe

Comment on the latest ECB council meeting

The ECB has to strike a delicate balance between preparing markets for an exit from QE and keeping its options open to extend its QE program further, if need be. The most difficult challenge for the ECB is that it is still not sufficiently fulfilling its price stability mandate despite a stronger than expected euro area recovery. The stronger Euro, which is pushing down inflation, does not make life any easier for the central bank.

After today’s press conference, an … [continue reading]

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Currency and Financial Markets Europe Foreign Trade and International Economic Relations Macroeconomics

Franco-German proposal for a reform of the European monetary union

Fourteen economists from France and Germany are presenting a reform package aimed at making the euro area more robust and more resilient to crises as well as allow for sound public finances and stronger economic growth.

Find the joint press release of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) and ifo Institute – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich including the paper Reconciling risk sharing with market discipline: A constructive approach to euro area reform[continue reading]

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ECB Europe Monetary Policy

The ECB can only tighten its monetary policy gradually

The ECB has chosen a gradual and cautious exit from its expansionary monetary policy stance. The decision gives the ECB a maximum of flexibility for exiting QE. I expect the ECB to terminate its QE program after September 2018 and to raise rates for the first time in 2019 at the earliest. The ECB can tighten policy only gradually as it is only slowly approaching its price stability mandate. The ECB has to maintain a high degree of flexibility in … [continue reading]

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Europe Foreign Trade and International Economic Relations Macroeconomics

Op-ed of Franco-German Economist Group on EMU reforms

The euro area has recently seen some good news. A broad-based economic recovery is under way. Significant institutional reforms have been achieved, particularly in the area of banking union. Significant economic reforms are under way in several countries, including in France.

As French and German economists committed to Europe and to the friendship between our countries, we are nonetheless concerned that the Euro area continues to face significant fragilities.  Addressing these requires a comprehensive, collaborative push for reforms. If this … [continue reading]

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ECB Europe Monetary Policy

Statement on the lawsuit against ECB QE program

The decision of the German constitutional court concerning the lawsuit against ECB QE program is a false compromise. The constitutional court signals that it considers the ECB QE program as a violation of European law and to constitute monetary financing. Yet the constitutional court is not willing to take a decision itself at this stage, but rather asks the European court of justice (ECJ) for “advice”.

I expect that the ECJ will again support the ECB, as it did with … [continue reading]

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Why a Franco-German bargain will help secure the euro

The op-ed was first published on on August 9, 2017.

The gains would outweigh the costs and help chart a path for the continent’s future

As Germany heads towards its general election one of the debates in Berlin and elsewhere is what course the next government will pursue on Europe. In particular there is much speculation about a possible “grand bargain” between France and Germany that would see Berlin re-engage in reforming Europe.

At the centre of such a … [continue reading]

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Currency and Financial Markets ECB Europe Monetary Policy

Statement on ECB interest rate decision

The ECB keeps its options open about the exit of its expansionary monetary policy stance. There has been no significant change in ECB communication. The statement by President Draghi makes a very gradual tapering of its bond purchases in 2018 the most likely path. Many open questions about ECB monetary policy remain unanswered. It is still open when the ECB will end its bond purchases and when it will start raising interest rates.

The overreaction of financial markets to ECB … [continue reading]

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Europe Foreign Trade and International Economic Relations

Helmut Kohl Was Right

Economists criticize his decisions on German reunification and the euro, but he understood better the relationship between politics and economics.

Helmut Kohl’s death earlier this month has revived a contentious debate over his legacy. Although the former chancellor of Germany is widely considered to be a political genius, conventional wisdom holds that his economic policy was a failure. It’s time to reassess that view. Kohl was smarter on economics than many professional economists are willing to admit.

The arguments that … [continue reading]

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Currency and Financial Markets ECB Europe

Statement on the ECB council meeting (June 8, 2017)

The ECB has now cautiously started its monetary policy reversal, even if only through words rather than deeds. The change in communication is an important step in the right direction.

Many in Germany consider the ECB’s exit as too slow. Many underestimate the importance of the ECB decision, which signals a sustained monetary policy tightening for the first time in more than ten years. The ECB is right in preparing the exit gradually and not abruptly in order not to … [continue reading]

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