European Central Bank
Opinion: Mario Centeno’s useful ambiguities
New Eurogroup Chairman Mario Centeno is known as a socialist, but despite his “anti-austerity” reputation, he slashed government spending and deficits while he was finance minister of Portugal. This earned him trust on both sides of the fiscal policy divide, and will allow him either to keep the Eurogroup as a low-profile talking shop, or to help it raise its stature to eurozone policymaking body.
Opinion: Putting Europe back on track
These days, it is easy to forget that European integration is a huge success. The founders were right that the free movement of goods and people would bind the continent together and promote peace. But national governments and centralizing democrats have spoiled a good idea through their own timidity and ambition. If the European Union is to play a global role, it must return to its roots.
The Swiss franc 2.0
The Swiss economy is doing remarkably well. Though it is growing only slowly, its companies are competitive, unemployment is virtually absent, inflation is close to zero and public debt is under control. One would therefore expect the Swiss National Bank to abstain from taking an active role in monetary policy or manipulating interest rates and exchange rates. Yet, last June the SNB announced that it intends to play an active role, and that it will expand its money supply to enhance growth and avoid deflation. These explanations are not convincing – the key is somewhere else: bruised Swiss manufacturers.
Helmut Kohl and the European ideal
If the European Union wants to survive and thrive, it should pay attention to the legacy of Dr. Helmut Kohl. The former German Chancellor, who died last week, belongs to a line of giants including Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer. What they understood is what today's European leaders are getting wrong.
Macron and the German project
After Brexit, the European Union is composed of two sorts of countries – those willing to recognize German leadership, and those reluctant to do so. With the project of an ever-closer union now defunct, the EU’s internal debate has shifted to what Germany wants and how much it is willing to compromise. A lot depends on the position of France and its new president.
Opinion: The day Europe goes bankrupt
You may not be able to see it, but Europe’s biggest economies have piled up enormous amounts of pension debt. The European Central Bank’s policy of target credits and quantitative easing has only made things worse. With politicians seemingly determined not to notice, a systemic implosion may be inevitable.
The future of euroskepticism
While Europe’s populist parties identify the euro as the root of most evils, exiting the common currency won’t solve their country’s economic woes – in fact, the solutions they propose will probably make them worse. Voters have recognized this. But anti-immigration sentiment remains a powerful weapon in their arsenal, and Brussels seems unwilling to take the necessary measures to address it.
GIS Dossier: The strangely resilient euro
The euro has been remarkably stable during its 15-year existence as a major currency. That has not always been a good thing for the European economy. But the real concerns for the single currency hinge on politics and survival.
The twilight of a European dream
As Washington threatens to slap economic sanctions on the countries that it believes weaken their currencies, reaping unfair advantages in trade with the United States, eurozone exporters, especially Germany, may find themselves in trouble. The root cause of the dilemma, though, is the fact that from its inception the common currency has been misused by politicians.
Italy’s 50-year bond: an ill omen?
What’s not to like about Italy’s first-ever 50-year bond? October’s brilliantly successful sale may set the template for other eurozone governments. But investors should take note that it was far from a vote of confidence in Europe’s financial and economic prospects.