Brexit and trade
Brexit negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom were supposed to be concluded at the EU summit on October 17. But the deadline passed with no breakthrough, and no plans for a new meeting. With the clock to a “hard Brexit” ticking down, this could be the salutary shock needed to pave the way for a compromise — or point to a future in which the UK’s diminished weight in international trade encourages a drift toward protectionism.
Orderly failure: The EU’s Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive
After the 2008-2009 financial crisis, governments are wary about bailing out distressed banks with taxpayer money. But the bail-in procedures implemented in 2016 by the European Union, while helping minimize some risks, have their own drawbacks. If new proposals are adopted to give resolution authorities more preemptive powers, they will give technocrats unprecedented control over the banking industry.
Regional integration at the Three Seas summit
With the third summit of the Three Seas Initiative, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe are trying to come together on issues like energy and infrastructure. The effort comes after several failed attempts at regional integration in the 20th century, and this one remains mostly on paper. If the European Union and outside investors will buy into the idea, several proposed projects could help lift all boats.
The next EU elections: Justified concerns, but for the wrong reasons
Europe’s dysfunctional political system has created a deep rift between centralized governments and their citizens. Trying to marginalize new parties that express this discontent will only make the problem worse.
GIS Dossier: Europe as a global player – the Middle East and North Africa
Europe’s influence as a great power is nowhere more apparent than in the attraction it exerts on the poorer countries to its south – in the Middle East and Northern Africa. This is the region where European Union member states, often without U.S. support, have deployed their full foreign-policy arsenal, from diplomacy and military intervention to financial aid and investment, with mixed success. Yet as migration and terror show, problems the EU fails to address “out there” tend to wind up on its doorstep.
The euro and the promise to end monetary profligacy
As the European Central Bank winds down its quantitative easing program, none of its future policy options look especially promising for the euro. While investors would welcome a more neutral monetary stance, that could spur political tensions in the euro area that could roil financial markets. Meanwhile, regulation is on the rise and growth could suffer, with unpleasant consequences for the single currency.
Brexit: holding out hope for pragmatism, and a miracle
Last week’s Salzburg negotiations were embarrassing for anyone holding out hope that European leaders might take a practical approach to Brexit negotiations. Even though maintaining the free movement of goods, services and capital, while losing the free movement of people is preferable to none of the above, EU decision makers are blindly sticking to bureaucratic dogma. Such attitudes are a detriment to European business and indeed the European spirit.
The false end of quantitative easing
In June, the European Central Bank made the fateful announcement that it would phase out its bond-buying program – called quantitative easing, or QE – by the end of this year. But putting an end to net bond purchases is not the same thing as ending the ECB’s ultra-lax monetary policy. By leaving the door open to rolling over its massive balance sheet of bonds as they mature, policymakers could keep oxygenating the euro area’s economy for years to come.