Opinion: Liechtenstein’s use of blockchain may upend the finance industry
One of Europe’s smallest states is writing a whole new book on harnessing the potential of blockchain technology to modernize the finance industry. There are still challenges to tackle, but the innovative legalization and approach to implementation could give the Principality of Liechtenstein pole position in this race.
Freedom and innovation are keys to Europe’s success
Unleashing free-market force and entrepreneurship is the only way forward for Europe. Instead of mimicking China’s central planning, the West needs to return to the values that initially made it powerful and prosperous: innovation, freedom and entrepreneurship. Only then will it revive its mismanaged economies and boost its global relevance
GIS Essay: A governance tip from the Republic of Venice
Politics have become increasingly dysfunctional in Western democracies. As public debate degenerates into warfare, citizens’ faith in the system wanes. Much of the blame is rightly put on the doorstep of political parties, but can they be fixed? The most enduring republic in Europe’s history offers surprising insight.
New Opportunities 2021: The ECB and bringing financial markets down to earth
The Covid-19 pandemic has capped a decade of economic crises that the European Central Bank has had to deal with. The bank’s tools to keep countries’ finances afloat and investors’ confidence solid have been unprecedented. Weaning them off low interest rates, financial injections and high debt will be its next ...
Italy’s Covid crisis plan: More government intervention
In the Covid-19 crisis, the Italian government sees an opportunity to address the country's long-standing economic ills. Its plan has been to renationalize businesses and use EU funds to boost spending. But as government involvement in the economy increases, foreign investment is being discouraged and private businesses crowded out.
Europe’s risky recovery funds
Europe is responding to the Covid-19 crisis with gigantic spending programs meant to shore up struggling economies. While financial support makes sense, the EU's history of doling out funds shows these initiatives often lead to fraud, corruption and market distortion. Recent reforms may not be enough to prevent a repeat ...
Austria and Visegrad: Interests converge in Central Europe
The Visegrad Group, consisting of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, initially had little political significance. But with pressure from EU institutions and other member states increasing, the forum has grown in significance. And though it originally wanted to exclude Austria, recently Vienna has found much in common with ...
ECB: Pushing banks too far?
After the last economic crisis, the European Central Bank put in place strict rules to ensure banks were in a strong financial position. Now, to counter the pandemic's effects, authorities are pushing banks to take more risks in lending to households and businesses. But banks see a rough road ahead, ...
Opinion: Spain, a left-wing illiberal democracy
With the rise of a new Spanish left, the postwar and post-transition consensus was disrupted and old wounds have reopened. Because the ruling leftist coalition of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez needs to compromise with extremist parties, politics is radicalizing on both ends of the spectrum. This will gradually erode national ...
The loss of constitutional protection
In an atmosphere of panic over the Covid-19 crisis, European governments are enacting more and more open-ended measures that are often of dubious utility for containing the pandemic but severely restrict personal freedom, privacy and entrepreneurship. Alarmingly, citizens’ rights enshrined in constitutions are being set aside.
Scary EU policies: Broken rules and opportunistic socialism
With the Covid-19 crisis bearing down on eurozone economies, all efforts at maintaining fiscal responsibility have been abandoned. The euro area could adopt new fiscal rules – likely ones that would allow for more profligacy and greater centralization. But the ultra-low interest rates that come with such a strategy could ...
Albania and North Macedonia face an uncertain start for EU accession
In December, Albania and North Macedonia are expected to formally start the process for EU accession negotiations. However, both countries face potential vetoes from member states that could keep the procedure from even beginning. If the Western Balkan states can get the ball rolling under the current German presidency of ...
The Fed and ECB: Average inflation targeting for two
Central banks have long maintained that price stability means 2 percent inflation. Now we hear from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank that it actually means “average” 2 percent inflation. This seemingly small change in the banks’ mission aims to contain and sustain public debt, not inflation.
Britain’s EU negotiations – perfidious Albion?
The British government’s posturing in talks with the EU is testing goodwill in European capitals. Apart from risking a no-deal outcome on January 1, 2020, it casts a shadow over Britain’s prospects for close security and defense cooperation with Germany and France after Brexit is completed.
Self-righteousness weakens the European success story
With a new report on the rule of law in the European Union, leaders and officials within the bloc have again taken to criticizing member states. They should take a look in the mirror, as the EU’s institutions and leading countries often flout the rules themselves. This hypocritical arrogance undermines ...
Iconoclasm and moral hypocrisy
Modern-day iconoclasts are removing objects and symbols of Western civilization as part of moralistic campaigns. By doing so, they are falsifying history and attacking the very foundation of democracy.
Opinion: The EU won’t let a good crisis go to waste
The Covid-19 crisis presented EU leaders with an opportunity to regain popularity by handing out billions of euros in aid. Doling out such huge sums is sure to weaken the market by emphasizing bureaucratic activity over competition and innovation. For now, the EU’s problems have been papered over, but when ...
Opinion: Europe’s ‘historic’ deal and the future of the EU
Many have hailed the EU’s July decision to partially mutualize its newly issued debt as a “historic step.” Massive as it is, the stimulus package is unlikely to fix Europe’s fragile and crisis-stricken economies, even if the Union’s show of unity has already firmed it politically. However, the change in ...
Spain reels from the pandemic and an economic downturn
After holding four elections in four years, Spain finally managed to cobble together a coalition government in late 2019. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit, dealing a crushing blow to its already struggling economy. With the political scene so polarized, the governing left-wing coalition is under increasing pressure. So far, its ...
GIS Dossier: The dilemmas of the ECB’s monetary policy
Experts have long been gravely concerned about the negative side effects that could result from the eurozone’s prolonged ultra-easy credit. However, reversing the monetary policies of the European Central Bank has proven economically and politically risky. The coronavirus crisis has made the challenge even harder.
A Swiss answer to the Covid-19 crisis: Focus on liquidity
Switzerland devised an ingenious way to throw a lifeline to its enterprises during the pandemic-induced crisis. Its “liquidity facility” targets the core segment of the economy, relies on business owners’ sense of responsibility and does not burden the country’s public finances with intolerable debt.
Europe needs integration, not harmonization
Europe is not a house where everyone lives under the same rules, but a village in which all the houses work together. At least, that was the original vision. Today however, harmonization, under the guise of deeper integration, is the dominant philosophy, a dogma being used to silence dissent and ...
France’s bureaucratic challenge
France is the poster child for rule by the bureaucracy. It has become so powerful and entrenched, that even attempts to rein it in have ended up enlarging it and giving it more power. Now, the Covid-19 crisis has revealed some major faults, offering an opportunity for serious readjustment. But ...
The ECB’s wobbly ‘bridge function’
After the financial crisis of 2008, EU leaders decided that the European Central Bank needed supervisory powers over banks. Initially, the project successfully helped rein in bad practices and clean up banks' balance sheets. However, if the ECB's supervisory and monetary policy-setting functions are not kept separate, it could lead ...