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EU trade policy: Frequently asked questions

15-10-2019

This paper seeks to serve as a key resource for policy-makers who need to understand complex issues related to international trade quickly. It also outlines the key academic debates and issues, and provides references to further resources that could offer useful support to the work of policy-makers in the European Parliament. It seeks to provide immediate answers to the most commonly asked questions related to EU trade policy: from the evolution and scope of EU common commercial policy to the role ...

This paper seeks to serve as a key resource for policy-makers who need to understand complex issues related to international trade quickly. It also outlines the key academic debates and issues, and provides references to further resources that could offer useful support to the work of policy-makers in the European Parliament. It seeks to provide immediate answers to the most commonly asked questions related to EU trade policy: from the evolution and scope of EU common commercial policy to the role of different EU institutions and the economics of trade. It includes explanations of key trade concepts. In addition, the paper covers the procedures for the conclusion of international trade agreements, types of trade relationship, and the specific characteristics of EU legal instruments in the area of trade. Lastly, it addresses the issues of trade and sustainable development, which have grown into a key area of concern for Parliament.

Mainstreaming of climate action in the EU budget: Impact of a political objective

11-10-2019

Facilitating the transition to a climate-friendly and resilient economy requires huge investments. The EU has committed to spending 20 % of its 2014-2020 financial resources on climate-related measures. Against the backdrop of the Paris Agreement and of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, such a high-level political objective acquires new salience in the negotiations for the post-2020 EU budget. The European Commission has proposed to raise this objective to 25 % of the EU ...

Facilitating the transition to a climate-friendly and resilient economy requires huge investments. The EU has committed to spending 20 % of its 2014-2020 financial resources on climate-related measures. Against the backdrop of the Paris Agreement and of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, such a high-level political objective acquires new salience in the negotiations for the post-2020 EU budget. The European Commission has proposed to raise this objective to 25 % of the EU budget in the next programming period, while the European Parliament has called for an even more ambitious approach. Tracking and reporting climate-related expenditure pose several challenges. This analysis describes how climate action has been mainstreamed in the EU budget so far, as well as possible developments for the 2021 2027 period. The EU appears on track to almost reach its 20 % objective by 2020. Assessments of the tracking methodology and of its impact have identified both achievements and shortcomings. The creation of a broad political objective is deemed to act as a driver of increased focus on climate considerations across different policies. Recommendations for improvements include the development of a stronger performance framework.

The 2019 proposed amendments to the Treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism

11-10-2019

This document presents the proposed amendments to the Treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism, following the decisions taken by the Eurogroup and the June 2019 Euro Summit. It complements an EGOV briefing on the ESM features, instruments and accountability. The note outlines the relevant changes and provides a comparison between the current ESM Treaty and the proposed amended one.

This document presents the proposed amendments to the Treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism, following the decisions taken by the Eurogroup and the June 2019 Euro Summit. It complements an EGOV briefing on the ESM features, instruments and accountability. The note outlines the relevant changes and provides a comparison between the current ESM Treaty and the proposed amended one.

Free trade or geo-economics? Trends in world trade

27-09-2019

The European Union (EU) is the biggest integrated economic zone and a guarantor of an open and predictable regulatory system able to determine its own economic destiny. But the behaviour of other global powers is increasingly calling this ability into question. China and the United States, especially, do not separate economic interests from geopolitical interests in the same way the EU does and are increasingly trying to gain geopolitical advantage using their economic might. The EU is known as ...

The European Union (EU) is the biggest integrated economic zone and a guarantor of an open and predictable regulatory system able to determine its own economic destiny. But the behaviour of other global powers is increasingly calling this ability into question. China and the United States, especially, do not separate economic interests from geopolitical interests in the same way the EU does and are increasingly trying to gain geopolitical advantage using their economic might. The EU is known as a fierce defender of a multilateral rules - based trade system with free but fair trade as its strategic policy objective. The EU will therefore do its utmost to save a ‘meaningful multilateralism’ by helping to reform the WTO, improve multilateral investment protection and conclude multilateral trade agreements. At the same time, the EU will defend its own interests by negotiating bilateral trade deals and applying trade defence and investment screening where needed. The EU has a strong interest in keeping the use of geo-economic measures manageable and avoid escalation into a trade war.

Subdued Inflation, Targets and Monetary Policy Cooperation

16-09-2019

This paper examines the case that there has been a structural change in the determination of inflation in the EU (and elsewhere) that has led to a low real-wages, low inflation, slow productivity growth regime. In fact, there appears to have been no structural change. Instead, there has been a marked convergence between the performance of those variables in national economies. The implication is that there is little scope for greater monetary coordination in the conventional sense, or adjusting the ...

This paper examines the case that there has been a structural change in the determination of inflation in the EU (and elsewhere) that has led to a low real-wages, low inflation, slow productivity growth regime. In fact, there appears to have been no structural change. Instead, there has been a marked convergence between the performance of those variables in national economies. The implication is that there is little scope for greater monetary coordination in the conventional sense, or adjusting the monetary rules (e.g., targets), since this uniformity is the origin of the low inflation problem. Outcomes can be improved with better coordination of monetary policy with non-monetary variables. There are two lines of attack. One is a short term approach using conventional instruments (monetary-fiscal, structural or labour market reforms, improving policymakers’ credibility). The other is a long term approach based on improved income distribution, a better distribution of the gains from productivity growth, and stabilisation by means of an external anchor (exchange rate).

Külső szerző

Andrew Hughes Hallett

Draghi’s Term as ECB President and the Challenges Ahead

16-09-2019

Mario Draghi took over as ECB President at a time of recession for the euro area economy and widespread concerns about whether the euro project could be sustained. The years since have seen an easing of fears of the euro breaking up and the economy recover without triggering inflation above its target level. As such, his presidency must be judged a success. Draghi’s achievements go beyond the successful implementation of monetary policy. He also played a key role in encouraging Banking Union and ...

Mario Draghi took over as ECB President at a time of recession for the euro area economy and widespread concerns about whether the euro project could be sustained. The years since have seen an easing of fears of the euro breaking up and the economy recover without triggering inflation above its target level. As such, his presidency must be judged a success. Draghi’s achievements go beyond the successful implementation of monetary policy. He also played a key role in encouraging Banking Union and other important institutional reforms. The new ECB President faces a difficult set of challenges. The ECB is not meeting its inflation target; inflation expectations are falling; and there are signs of economic weakness. Like Draghi, the next President will require strong communications, diplomatic and political skills to face these challenges successfully.

Külső szerző

Karl Whelan

Challenges ahead for the European Central Bank: Navigating in the Dark?

16-09-2019

Monetary policy must reinvent itself in the wake of the crisis. Reinvention is particularly important because the system is riddled with uncertainties and the scope for applying conventional and unconventional instruments is limited. The architecture of Economic and Monetary Union makes the challenge even greater, because alignment of preferences and policies only goes so far. The European Central Bank (ECB) will have to be clearer on what it can do, while remaining flexible in order to manage uncertainties ...

Monetary policy must reinvent itself in the wake of the crisis. Reinvention is particularly important because the system is riddled with uncertainties and the scope for applying conventional and unconventional instruments is limited. The architecture of Economic and Monetary Union makes the challenge even greater, because alignment of preferences and policies only goes so far. The European Central Bank (ECB) will have to be clearer on what it can do, while remaining flexible in order to manage uncertainties and unknowns. While the ECB’s main objective is price stability, it will also have to contribute to the identification of, and response to, financial imbalances, while preserving its independence.

Külső szerző

Grégory CLAEYS, Maria DEMERTZIS and Francesco PAPADIA

Challenges ahead for EMU monetary policy

16-09-2019

With the economic slowdown in the euro area, questions arise as to whether the ECB retains some economic and political margins for manoeuvre after a decade of active policies. In this note, we highlight three possible monetary policy developments. We discuss their pros and cons according to four dimensions: political constraints, technical constraints, independence and interactions with fiscal policy.

With the economic slowdown in the euro area, questions arise as to whether the ECB retains some economic and political margins for manoeuvre after a decade of active policies. In this note, we highlight three possible monetary policy developments. We discuss their pros and cons according to four dimensions: political constraints, technical constraints, independence and interactions with fiscal policy.

Külső szerző

Christophe Blot, Jérôme Creel & Paul Hubert

Global Trends in Inflation: Are Central Banks Barking up the Wrong Tree?

16-09-2019

The ECB will not be able to achieve its inflation target over the foreseeable future. Further expansionary measures will have at most a modest impact on financial market conditions and even less on overall demand. Moreover, the impact of any demand stimulus on inflation is highly uncertain. The reasons for low inflation persistence despite tight labour markets almost everywhere are not fully understood. It is a global phenomenon, but not necessarily due to globalisation. One global factor seems ...

The ECB will not be able to achieve its inflation target over the foreseeable future. Further expansionary measures will have at most a modest impact on financial market conditions and even less on overall demand. Moreover, the impact of any demand stimulus on inflation is highly uncertain. The reasons for low inflation persistence despite tight labour markets almost everywhere are not fully understood. It is a global phenomenon, but not necessarily due to globalisation. One global factor seems beyond dispute, namely a fall in global equilibrium real interests. However, different views of how the economy operates lead to very different views how central banks should react to this phenomenon. There is little evidence that cooperation between central banks would have a significant impact on their (limited) ability to achieve their inflation targets.

Külső szerző

Daniel Gros

Monetary Policy in the Euro Area after Eight Years of Presidency of Mario Draghi: Where Do We Stand?

16-09-2019

Against the backdrop of slowing growth and subdued inflation in the euro area, we address the question to what extent additional monetary stimulus can be expected from the ECB if needed. We find that “more of the same” policies will probably not be effective and that there are no attractive alternatives there. After more than ten years of exceptionally loose monetary policy it is now the turn of fiscal and structural policies to reinvigorate the European economies.

Against the backdrop of slowing growth and subdued inflation in the euro area, we address the question to what extent additional monetary stimulus can be expected from the ECB if needed. We find that “more of the same” policies will probably not be effective and that there are no attractive alternatives there. After more than ten years of exceptionally loose monetary policy it is now the turn of fiscal and structural policies to reinvigorate the European economies.

Külső szerző

Salomon FIEDLER and Klaus-Jürgen GERN

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