Since the outbreak of the Euro Crisis in 2009, it the “collapse” of the EU has ofton been predictecl In this paper, we will examine causes of the Euro Crisis and discuss the EU’s future, by focusing on its fiscal system.
The ratio of the accumulated public debt to GDP in the EU continued to grow throughout the 1980s, indicating that there had been strong deficit-bias in fiscal policies in the EU. Therefore, it was believed among policy planners that fiscal rules should be introduced in order to curb growing budgetary deficits, some of the examples being the so-called “Maastricht Criteria” and the “Stability and Growth Pact”.
However, due to the “flexible” interpretations of the Pact aftermath of German unification and also, due to massive capital inflows into some member states which were accelerated by the zero risk rating of national bonds of these member states in financial markets, tliere was an apparent loss of fiscal disciplines in these states. Against this background, the sovereign debt crisis and the subsequent Euro Crisis erupled.
In order to tackle the Euro Crisis, the EU has implemented various measures, among which are EFSF (European Financial Stabilisation Facility) and ESM (European Stabilisation Mechanism) in the financial sector. Furthermore, in the fiscal policy, it has introduced the Fiscal Compact which requires most of member states to exercise fiscal discipline and the European Semester by which member states’ budgetary plans have to be examined by the EU, before these governments submit their budgetary plans to their own parliaments.
Considering the main causes of the Crisis, these measures might be effective in acoiding avoid next crisis. However, important issues still remain to be solved. In a matured society, like the EU, local, not central, governments play more important roles to supply public goods and services, taking account of the diverse range of people’s demands. However, effective EU-wide rules to strengthen disciplines among member states’ local governments hace not been implemented. Therefore, it still seems premature to conclude that the Crisis is over. A discussian on how to construct multi-level governments, both central and local, can be constructed in the EU is vital to its future.
Since the summer of 2012, the European Council began to focus on a “genuine EMU”. The initial ‘framing’ for the wider public suggested to design and pursue four ‘unions’. So many ‘unions’ are neither necessary nor desirable―only some are and their design matters a lot.
There is a deep ambiguity in Europe about a ‘genuine EMU’. On the one hand, there is too little recognition of the transformation of EMU, simply due to low growth and depressive unemployment rates. Most of all, this is true at the grassroots level because low growth and unemployment matter far more for them. On the other hand, the many changes already introduced in the budgetary and institutional ‘acquis’, the progress on the banking union (including some ‘fiscal capacity’ at EU level for bank resolution) and the amazing evolution of the tasks and influence of the ECB have not fully removed doubts about the sufficiency of the accomplishments. These doubts concern the shifts of economic powers, the tendency to go ‘intergovernmental’ and democratic legitimacy.
Progress has surely been made and it is impressive. Despite the Great recession, the single market―the foundation for EMU―has further deepened. But precisely in the financial internal market, a severe setback has occurred and it is crucial that this setback be reversed soon. The fiscal union signifies considerable progress in terms of budgetary disciplines and a breakthrough with respect to fiscal capacity for bank resolution powers combined with ‘bail-in’. The banking union is progressing steadily with respect to better supervision (rules and centralisation), EU level resolution powers and funding (again, based on bail-in first). But some turbulence might be expected when the ECB tests (on the assets quality review and later stress tests) find some (big) banks that are technically insolvent.
What about the parade of other ‘unions’-economic union, competitiveness union, social union and political union? The macro-economic imbalances procedure (MIP) and possibly the ESRB have overcome the pre-crisis disregard of macro competitiveness. The three components of ‘economic union’ (single market, economic policy coordination and budgetary disciplines) have all been strengthened. The last two ‘unions’, on the other hand, would imply a fundamental change in the conferral of powers to the EU/Eurozone, with drastic long-run implications. Hence, neither a social nor a political union worthy of the name will be pursued. Yet, political legitimacy matters, both with national parliaments and the grassroots. National parliaments will have to play a larger role. But the BREXIT debate shows a complementary route for the grassroots: it does confront the grassroots with facts and the euro-sceptics with severe criticism about their highly biased framing of the EU or the Eurozone. If such firm debates at grassroots level do not emerge in other EU countries, the lack of political legitimacy―here, about the euro and EMU-would render the process of completing the ‘genuine EMU’ much more difficult.
European Banking Union has the two pillars of a Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) and a Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) with some harmonisation of relevant national laws, but no common Deposit Guarantee Scheme due to political difficulties.
SSM and SRM need a legal base. It is Article 127 (6) TFEU for SSM and Article 114 TFEU for SRM. Both articles have been overshadowed by the Meroni doctrine established by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in 1956, which decided that EU institutions may not delegate to agencies powers with a wide discretion.
The Commission, as the initiator of EU legislation, has considered that Meroni is applied not only to “administration-to-administration” relationship but also to “legislature-to-administration” relationship. As a consequence, in the framework of SSM, in order to avoid Meroni being applied, banking supervisory powers are given to the ECB, an institution of the EU, not to the European Banking Authority (EBA) or a new regulatory agency. On the other hand, in the framework of the draft SRM regulation, also in order to escape the application of Meroni, the Commission gives resolution powers to itself, not to a Single Resolution Board, whose tasks remain recommendation and execution.
But, the author thinks that there is a fallacy in the Commission’s interpretation of Meroni, since, in the ESMA judgment (C-207/12), the ECJ has modified the doctrine in that discretionary powers may be delegated to EU agencies provided that the conditions for their exercise are clearly delineated by the EU legislature. Therefore, Meroni should be considered to be applied to “legislature-to-administration” relationship with parliamentary and judiciary control.
Conseguently, firstly, banking supervisory powers could be given to the EBA or a newly established agency in stead of ECB. Secondly, resolution powers could be given directly to a Single Resolution Board.
The author examines the European sovreign debt crisis from an economic point of view, clarifying its structural causes, expansion process and bailout package.
The main focus is on snch questions as: Why did the euro crisis break out long after the global financial crisis rooted in American financial market erros? What are specific differences between these two crises? What was the main structural cause that has given rise to the euro crisis? If it was heterogeneity between southern eurozone countries and northern ones, what has brought about this North-South divide? Why has the crisis been intensified and prolonged so far beyond all expectations? Why have austerity measures been inevitably adopted by all eurozone countries as the golden rule forced by Germany? Who are the main saviors of the euro system?
Speculation about the breakup of the eurozone hastened member countries to implement such ambitious governance reforms that they couldn’t be commonly accepted. The new triangle of the Monetary Union illustrates the following institutional set-up. The responsibility for price stability lies with the ECB; the responsibility for fiscal sustainability lies with individual governments under joint oversight; financial stability is both an individual and a collective responsibility of government; and the safety net of the EFSF/ESM covers the triangle firmly.
The paper discusses basic constitutional problems that remain in the series of EU and non-EU measures for managing the Euro Crisis adopted by the EU and its Member States. The measures discussed in the paper include the amendment of Article 136 TFEU, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Treaty, the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance (TSCG), and the so-called 6 Pack and 2 Pack measures. The present paper classifies these measures according to their aims, contents and their legal forms (whether they are adopted within the EU legal system or not) in order to analyse their legal coherence to the existing EU legal system.
Based on the classification and the analysis of the coherence, the paper argues that the ESM Treaty, above all, creates an anomaly to the basic principle of ensuring the effective democratic control and oversight over EU policy making: the ESM is created because it is indispensable to the stabilisation of the EU’s monetary policy (Euro) and yet the ESM is created outside of the EU legal system, and as a result, it is left effectively unaccountable to the EU institutions (especially to the European Parliament and to the European Commission). The anomaly is problematic in light of democratic development of the EU and its Member States: the ESM Council would impose strict conditions on a particular Euro Member State in assisting its budgetary crisis, and the conditions imposed would effectively restrict the Member State’s budgetary autonomy, while it would do so without any democratic accountability, neither at national nor European level.
Although the fact that the Euro Member States managed to agree to establish the ESM itself may be taken as a sign of “solidarity” between the states, the paper argues that the ESM would not promote the sense of “solidarity” between the peoples of Europe; it would rather promote distrust among the peoples of Europe to the ESM and the Euro systems because the ESM institution is free from democratic control at national as well as at European level and yet the conditions it imposes would directly affect the lives of the peoples in the assisted and assisting states. Those who try to make an analogy of the ESM institution with that of the IMF to justify the technical rationality of the ESM are overlooking the political context of European integration in which the ESM and the Euro system are created and maintained. The system is not just for the economic stability but also for the promotion of peoples’ identity as living in a European public space. The paper stresses the anomaly in the ESM in order to indicate the constitutionally sound direction of reform for the EU in the near future.
This article explains the EU External Relations in the Era of the Euro Crisis. It covers the period from the Lehman Shock in September 2008 to January 2014, in particular after October 2009 when the Greek problem was made known.
During this period, EU had parallel and intertwined operations, namely, coping with the euro crisis and the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty which entered into force in December 2009. The top priority of the EU has been to secure the common currency, the euro.
The major achievement of the text of the Lisbon Treaty was the reform of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) including the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, which is double-hatted with the Vice-President of the European Commission, and the establishment of the European External Action Service.
The euro crisis diminished the EU’s credibility, while the objective of the Lisbon Treaty was to increase influence and visibility of the EU in the world by setting up the new institutions. The economic difficulties in the many EU member countries decreased their foreign policy-related resources as well as the defence budget. Even before the economic difficulties, “pooling and sharing” was the catch-word in the area of defence capability for rationalising and strengthening the EU Common Security and Defence Policy. The increased competitiveness of defence industries in the EU member countries has been one inter-connected tool to alleviate the economic difficulties and to enhance the capabilities of the CSDP.
In December 2013, “Defence” was the major agenda of the European Council, which paved the way to enhancing cooperation among the EU member countries.
＊The author of this article was Ambassador, Deputy Chief of the Mission of Japan to the EU from 2008 to 2011. The view which was expressed in this article is her own.
First, this paper considers the impact of the global financial crisis on new EU Member States (NMS) from Central and Eastern Europe. In the case of Slovenia, the best performer among the NMS, the situation has been very serious.
Second, the mechanism of the crisis in Slovenia is examined in detail. Since the EU accession in May 2004, especially the adoption of the ERM II in June in the same year, in the financial area barriers between the Eurozone economy and the Slovenian economy practically disappeared. The sovereign risk premium decreased. Domestic banks borrowed a huge amount of funds at international wholesale financial markets and actively financed companies’ ambitious investments. Financial authorities in the country were not alert to cross-border movement of a huge amount of capital. Due to the Lehman shock, however, international financial markets became tight suddenly and demands in the Western markets sharply decreased. The direction of international financial flows reversed. The banking sector was obliged to dispose a huge amount of non-performing loans and recorded negative pre-tax profit for consecutive three years since 2010. One of the reasons why the Slovenian economy fell into such a serious crisis is that domestic banks increased their borrowings abroad too quickly within a short time from 2005 through 2008. In addition, there were the following circumstances: 1) the second wave of privatization of state-owned companies was implemented on the method of Management Buyout from 2006 and domestic banks gave loans to managers. Unfortunately, this was done immediately before the Lehman shock; 2) the weight of foreign-owned banks has been smaller in this country. In other NMS foreign-owned banks have been predominant in the banking sector, and their parent banks managed to support their affiliates in the global financial crisis. In contrast, in the case of Slovenia, the government has been required to inject fresh capitals into domestic banks to protect the banking system. The type of Slovenian crisis is different from that of the Greek crisis and the Cypriot crisis.
Finally, the paper considers the significance of euro for NMS from Central and Eastern Europe. The NMS, which have not adopted euro yet, will sooner or later advance toward the adoption of euro. After joining the Eurozone, these countries will be required to steer their economic policies cautiously on the basis of lessons from Slovenia’s failure.
This paper examines the German economic system toward marketization and the relationship between the German and the EU economy after monetary unification in 1999. the German economy has recently recovered from a long depression due to a strict economic reform in line with widening and deepening a free trade system within the EU. Economic indicators such as a low unemployment rate, a stable economic growth and an excellent balance of current account represent flatly the strength of the German economy. On the other hand, the poverty rate has increased and therefore the gab of incomes has expanded in the German society. While a series of labor policies has succeeded in reducing unemployment and mobilizing a labor market, it has caused a low level of wages and an increase in non-regular workers, which have made the German society unstable and insecure.
“Social market economy” as a direction of the EU economy to achieve a fair and an equal society as well as a perfect employment and a stable economic growth was adopted under the Lisbon Treaty. The concept of “social market economy” should be related to conventional economic thoughts which have contributed to developing the German style of capitalism by justifying the interruption into transaction in the market and the deployment of social security and welfare policy. Therefore it can be said that the EU economic system should follow the traditional German economic system. However the marketizatioin of the German economy has started and conflicted after monetary unification and hence there is no more ideal model for the EU to embody “social market economy“.
I suggest that the fiscal unification which organizes “funds transfer system” and disperses the risk of economic fluctuations among the EU members does not play an important role in achieving a fair and an equal society as well as a perfect employment and a stable economic growth. In addition to this system, it is necessary to build an economic system in which a high productivity and competitiveness created by the members can be transferred and widespread to the EU members.
The paper analyzes the limitation of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) to pursue financial stability policies by pointing out the problems of fragmentation in the policy-making processes. Fragmentation was due to delegating monetary policies to the European level under the authority of the European Central Bank (ECB) while essentially confining fiscal policies and financial supervisory policies to national boundaries (at least until the Banking Union is implemented in 2014). The paper first reviews various lines of argument to explain the process of reaching agreement on the EMU and finds that one of the major factors in support of the EMU was its complementarity with German business interests.
Moreover, the paper discusses the policy implications of the EMU by examining the role of the ECB. It focuses on the institutional characteristics of the ECB―such as institutional independence and priority given to price stability―as well as the policy environment impacting its actual functions. New institutionalism implies that institutions could produce unanticipated results due to the complexity of contexts where they function (Pierson 2004, Mahoney and Thelen 2010). Despite the fact that the ECB’s characteristics originated from the German Bundesbank, these central banks’ policies could lead to different outcomes. For example, as Hall and Franzese (1998) and Garrett (1999) discuss, trade-off issues between unemployment and price stability could be more serious in the Eurozone due to its lack of coordinated wage-setting process. In a similar vein, in a field of financial stability policies, investors can rely less on the ECB’s commitment to ensuring financial stability (than as is the case in Germany), thus escalating their fears over financial markets. This problem can be attributed to: ⑴ uncertainty involving the ECB’s role as lender of last resort, ⑵ a lack of investor of last resort in the European level, and ⑶ disjuncture between financial supervisors, fiscal authorities, and the monetary authority.
In addition, the paper examines current agendas associated with the 2008-10 financial crises. The ECB expanded its role in financial crisis management through handling these crises. Furthermore, according to recent agreements on the Banking Union, it was decided that the ECB would gain financial supervisory powers in the Eurozone. The paper discusses what kinds of problems remain after such institutional change and points out the ECB’s accountability problems in the context of its enhanced role in financial stability policies.
The Food Distribution Programme for the Most Deprived Persons in the European Union (MDP), which enables the surplus intervention stocks of agricultural products to be distributed to the deprived in member states, has been in place since 1987 as an instrument of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The primary purpose of the MDP is to stabilize an agricultural market by reduction in the intervention stocks and the appendant one is to help people in need. The current MDP was decided to end in 2013 but the reformed MDP is scheduled to take place since 2014 (the detail is not dealt with in the article).
The aim of the article is at the introduction of co-financing to the MDP, which has been one of the contentious policy tools during the argument on how the MDP should be reformed. Co-financing means burden sharing between the EU and a member state on the implementation cost of an EU policy. Its introduction facilitates the increase in size of financial resources for the MDP, compared to the current system under the principle of financial solidarity where the EU bears the entire cost.
Section 1 shows that the MDP, despite a part of the CAP, has functioned as a de facto social policy since its beginning. Section 2, describing two turning points of the MDP, i.e. the start of distribution of purchased food in 1996 and the judgment of the General Court in 2011 upholding a complaint by Germany to annul a regulation concerning the MDP, explains the process where both of them, together with CAP reforms after 1992, terminated it. After the judgment, some member states requested its reform for continuation because of its social significance. Focusing on reform plans of the MDP, especially the introduction of co-financing recommended by the European Court of Auditors and the European Commission, section 3, in consideration of two different impacts of its introduction not only on people in need but on the financial responsibility of a member state, concludes that its introduction brings the improvement of accessibility of the deprived to the aid of the MDP, accompanied by a situation where a member state with more people in need assumes heavier financial responsibility for the implementation of the MDP.
Economic crisis which began in 2008 has increased the pressure both on EU research budgets and on the health budgets of its member states, Studies have been made into the effective allocation of financial resources in response to the crisis, and the objectives of this paper are (i) to recommend strategies to protect patients with orphan diseases in the EU and ensure their access to medications; (ii) to improve the research and development capabilities of pharmaceutical companies in the context of Europe’s new growth strategy “Europe 2020”; while at the same time (iii) clarifying the direction that needs to be taken and the issues that need to be addressed to achieve a balance in these areas and identify any adjustments required, in order to increase the sustainability of healthcare resources.
With no resolution to the economic crisis in sight, there is increasing pressure to reduce health care costs as society continues to age. Meanwhile, the enforcement of the European Charter on Fundamental Rights has implemented a policy of social inclusion and developed “Strategies for Orphan Drugs” at EU level. Drugs for rare diseases (or orphan drugs) refer to drugs with an extremely small market, where companies cannot even expect to recover the investment costs they incur in the development of treatments, and preventive or diagnostic products.
In order to reduce the financial burden on patients, some EU states have chosen to meet the full costs from public expenditure but others lack the financial resources or political will to do this. It is problematic if drug costs are reimbursed from the public budget, in the sense that the greater the potential to diagnose a patient with a rare disease, the greater the impact on healthcare resources will be. The EU is trying to achieve a balance between all stakeholders such as pharmaceutical companies, patients with rare diseases and their families, individual member governments and public health authorities, and it needs to establish a system to evaluate the socio-economic worth of drugs used in the treatment of rare diseases. The greatest challenge will be to ensure that patients in all member states have equal access to orphan drugs without placing unbearable financial pressure on national or central budgets
Spain and Portugal are often seen as the “pro-European” countries in the EU. However, when we observe statistical data relating to the citizens’ attitudes toward the EU, some significant differences can be found between these two countries. According to Eurobarometer, Spanish citizens did not feel that gaining membership in the EC was benefitting as Portuguese citizens did, immediately after the accession to the EC. On the other hand, Portuguese people do not regard European integration as benefitting as Spanish people do. Previous studies suggest that Portuguese attitudes are more prone to changes in economic climate.
Why are there such differences? My theory is that people in Spain see European integration as more “political” and “international” issue, while people in Portugal regard it as more “economic” and “national” issue from their historical backgrounds. In order to examine this, I researched articles in Spanish and Portuguese leading newspapers, as national newspapers are said to represent their citizens’ views on social phenomena. Through the research, I revealed that the differing ways in which Spanish and Portuguese newspapers depict European integration reflect these countries’ national views on it. Portuguese people are more likely to see European integration from the utilitarian point of view, while Spanish people look at it comparatively from the affective point of view.
Furthermore, I found that national histories of these countries shape different ways in which people see European integration in later days. The accession to the EC gave great impacts on Spanish and Portuguese citizens’ everyday life. Therefore, this event is remembered by both peoples, but from different perspectives. Spanish citizens idertify the participation in the EU as democratization and the end of international isolation. So to them, European integration is a matter of political norms such as democracy, and they are sympathetic with European identity. Portuguese citizens consider the “Europe” as an alternative to their colonies, which had been principal source of wealth in the Portuguese empire for a long time. As a result, their views towards European integration have been more exclusively national and utilitarian. For this reason, Spanish and Portuguese attitudes toward European integration have developed quite distinctly from one another.
This article aims to overview EU Regional Policy (2004-2006) in Central-Eastern Europe (CEE-8), and to analyze whether economic disparities of the NUTS2 level regions had been reduced in EU. To reveal the policy impact on the disparities, this article used freguency distribution and coefficient variation.
EU Regional Policy intends to reduce the significant economic, social and territorial disparities that still exist among European regions. Most CEE-8 regions are subject to Objective 1 regions that have per capita GDP lower than 75% of the Community average. In order to CEE-8 regions required to build basic infrastructure, EU Regional Policy in these regions assisted with large investment in transport and human resources.
Spending to CEE-8 regions under EU Regional Policy (2004-2006) correspond approximately to 10-37% of the increment in the inward FDI stock, or 19-78% of general government gross fixed capital formation.
In frequency distribution analysis (2000, 2004, 2007), it was found that GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity in CEE-8 regions has risen overall. In addition, that of the capital region of CEE-8 such as Bratislava and Prague has risen to the level of the major urban areas of the core countries such as Stockholm, Hamburg and Ile-de-France (2007).
In coefficient of variation analysis (1995-2010), coefficient of variation in EU-wide (EU-15 and CEE-8) decreased from 0.37 (2000) to 0.35 (2007). By contrast, coefficient values in CEE-8 increased from 0.40 to 0.46. However, an increase in the coefficient of variation of 2005-2007 is a moderate compared to that of before accession to EU. Since 1995, huge influx of FDI contributed significantly to economic growth in CEE. However, regional economic disparities within the country have expanded in CEE, because FDI was not intended to be flowed evenly across the regions. It is thought that one of the factors which suppressed the widening of regional economic disparities in CEE-8 after accession to EU is starting in EU Regional Policy.
The European Union (EU) has been proactive in environmental protection and conservation within and outside Europe. However, among various policy realms, the most severe non-compliance by the EU member states exists in the realm of environmental protection and conservation. In this policy realm, nature protection and biodiversity conservation constitute the largest portion of non-compliance by the member states. In addition, in this policy area, development of common rules entailing transfer of member states competence has been obstructed continuously. This phenomenon contradicts with an existing potent theoretical account that stresses the importance of the demand for a single common rule at the EU level from non-state actors, and autonomous activities of EU supranational organizations seeking to attain transfer of member states competence at the EU level. The theory emphasizes that this collaboration between non-state actors and supranational organization will activate both negative and positive integration in a sustained fashion. Yet it focuses primarily on the cases of negative integration, including deregulation and market liberalization. Although we can observe that apparently quite similar factors have worked in the case of EU nature and biodiversity policy, this policy area has not experienced transfer of member states competence. This article addresses why and how this has happened and provides implications contributing to theorization of positive integration.
This article traces initiation, adoption, implementation, and enforcement processes of the 1979 Birds Directive and the 1992 Habitats Directive, the common rules constituting the core of EU nature and biodiversity policy. The analysis of these two directives reveals the limitations of the existing theoretical framework primarily concerned with negative integration. Although the Birds and Habitats Directives were both initiated by supranational organizations in response to the strong pressures from citizens and environmental organizations, due to the distributional conflicts among the member states, the Commission was unable to play a role as policy entrepreneur. Again, responding to the demand from environmental organizations, supranational organizations, especially the European Court of Justice, enforced the Birds and Habitats Directives against the member states from the perspective of strict environmental protection. Yet this aroused oppositions from the member states and led to the revision of the common rules on nature and biodiversity, thus hindering transfer of member states competence. This strict enforcement has reinforced the confrontation between environmental interests represented by environmental organizations and supranational organizations, and economic interests supported by the member states and firms, thus further obstructing transfer of member states competence.