Ist Europa ein optimaler Währungsraum? (German Edition)

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Adedeji, Olumuyiwa S. Aiginger, Karl, W. Aizenman, Joshua, Gurnain K. Ang, A. Artis, Michael J. Bayoumi, Tamim, Barry Eichengreen , "One money or many? Analyzing the prospects for monetary unification in various parts of the world", Princeton Studies in International Finance 76, September. Bayoumi, Tamim, Barry Eichengreen , "Ever closer to heaven? An optimum-currency-area index for European countries", European Economic Review 41 : Bayoumi, Tamim, Paul R.

Beck, Thorsten ed. Beine, M. Candelon, K. Berger, H. Bergsten, C. Blanchard, Olivier J. Bordo, Michael D. Buch, Claudia M. Buiter, Willem H. Buscher, Herbert S. Cohen, Benjamin J. Enzyclopedia, 1 February. Courchene, Thomas J. Crowley, Patrick M. Dearden, Stephen J. De Grauwe, Paul, Francesco Paolo Mongelli , "Endogeneities of optimum currency areas: What brings countries sharing a single currency closer together? De Grauwe, Paul, W. Masson, M. Taylor eds. Despite the foregoing, the main vehicle of integration in the Community is economic and concerns the free movement of goods, services and capital2.

A very simple way of looking at the impact of any kind of economic integration is therefore to shoot at everything that moves, i. This first-shot approach has as most obvious shortcomings, first, that it disregards the overall impact on, say, real income of the integration step and in particular negative side effects on other variables trade creation versus trade diversion, consumer surplus versus producer surplus and, second, that the anti-monde in a world where everything grows may not be particularly well chosen.

On the other hand, if nothing moves, the likelihood of zero or negative impact becomes very high, so it may be considered as a necessary, but not sufficient condition for a positive impact of integration. Examples of the first-shot approach are not difficult to give in the case of free movement of goods, services or capital, because they should directly affect observable economic variables.

The graph focuses exclusively on the trade between the old and new countries that are integrating. From the graph, a few conclusions seem to stand out. First, there is the remarkable increase in intra-EC6 trade in the s which reaches its maximum in , but then actually declines to stabilise only ten years later with a slight rise from onwards.

Although the decrease in the s may have been partly due to the demise of the Bretton Woods system and rising oil prices, the strongly rising trend of inter EC6-EC3 trade since the enlargement suggests that some relative trade diversion seems to have taken place. Secondly, the graph shows that the trade integration with Greece, judging from these measures, was less successful than any of the other enlargements. Judged from these first-shot indicators, the creation of the Community and successive enlargements have, with varying degrees, been quite successful.


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For total goods, trade between its members has expanded from First-shot indicators concerning the internal market process are more complicated to construct than those for enlargement because of the way the internal market is taking shape. On the one hand, European and other businesses are preparing for the internal market through large-scale restructuring, cross-border activity and, at least in , substantial additional investments. On the other hand, the actual directives regulating the free movement of factors have only gradually entered into force and some of them, notably in some service sectors, will only be operational in The consequence of this process is that changes in variables which are directly affected by the internal market will presumably occur later than those in variables which are indirectly related.

In Commission of the EC [], for instance, it is demonstrated that intra- EC trade increased only slightly more than EC GDP between and , both for manufactured goods and for trade in services. Similarly, the number of mergers and acquisitions of majority holdings within the EC plummeted from a mere in to more than in , with the number of Community operations increasing twenty-fold from 50 to Output indicators.

From a welfare point of view, it is not the increase in trade which matters but the increase in real income. Doing so, we still have to recognize that other elements could enter the welfare function which are either difficult to quantify or have a different dimension so that there is a weighting problem.

For integration beyond the free movement of factors, other elements should also enter the welfare function, but these are disregarded in the methods which we discuss hereafter. First we discuss two methods which focus ex post on the impact of the internal market, and finally one that attempts to estimate the gains from integration since the beginning of the Community. As was discussed above, it may be assumed that the variables directly affected by the internal market process will start to move slower than those which are indirectly related and based on expectations regarding the internal market.

It is notably on the basis of the indirect effects on business behaviour that it is generally assumed that the internal market has already had an impact on GDP before the date of 31 December The timing of these effects is generally situated in Especially in the first semester of , the integration process was given a boost through the solutions found for the financing of the Community rebate for the United Kingdom, moderation of spending on the common agricultural policy, doubling of the structural funds , the large number of internal market measures adopted under the German Presidency, the publication of the Cecchini report and the installation of the Delors committee for the study of economic and monetary union.

Subsequently, an investment boom developed that lasted well into the next year. True, the lower dollar, lower oil prices, expansionary monetary policies in the wake of the October stock-market crash and subsequent asset price inflation in several European countries and outside Europe, such as in Japan also helped getting the Community out of the previous downturn, but the internal market is deemed to have had at least a significant impact.

From onwards, the picture is blurred by several factors already alluded to earlier : German unification with its initial boost to demand and later negative impact through higher interest rates ; insufficient nominal convergence to warrant the optimism on economic and monetary union ; the recession in the United States and the asset price deflation following the bursting of previously built-up speculative bubbles.

Table 1 concentrates on the period , and presents in the first panel for ease of reference actual or predicted GDP growth rates for the Community, the United States and Japan. The second panel presents the results from a first method to measure the impact of the internal market on GDP. It gives the cumulative impact on GDP. If we assume the latter growth rate, which amounted to 2. More precisely, the average cumulative difference should be positive over the cycle. The results from this method show a stronger increase in the cumulative difference in for the Community than for the United States and Japan, with the Community's position staying relatively better for most of the years thereafter.

In the final year under consideration, , the cumulative growth difference stood at - 1. It should however be recognized that this method assumes broadly the same cyclical movements for the three regions. Consequently, whether the cumulative growth difference will turn positive again over the coming years in such a way that its average over the cycle becomes permanently positive, is not at all certain. If it does, it would be an indication of a structural increase in the Community's GDP, part of which could be due to the internal market.

It seems however too early to judge definitively on this question. The third panel also presents cumulative growth differences, but this time based on a counterfactual simulation with the Commission's QUEST model for all Community countries. With a version of this model estimated on data generally ending in , a post-sample simulation was performed in which all exogenous variables were set at their observed values.

To the extent that the internal market has affected the exogenous variables, its impact is therefore underestimated. The philosophy of this method is basically the same as for the previous : if the post-sample errors do not average to zero, there is evidence of a structural break.

This method gives results comparable to those from the previous one : in , a higher cumulative difference for the Community than for the United States and Japan, the value of which tapers off to stay relatively better until , the last available year1. Although this method is theoretically more robust than the previous one, also here the future has to show whether a structural increase in GDP is present. A further disadvantage of both methods is that the presence of a structural break can be established, but not necessarily its origin.

The bottom panel presents, for comparison, the cumulative impact on the level of GDP due to the internal market predicted by the macro-economic simulation results from the Cecchini report see Emerson et al. The simulations were performed on the technical assumption that the internal market would be completed from one year to the other. The simulation results cannot therefore be attributed to any particular timespan, since they cover something like a ten-year period starting in the first years after the adoption of the Commis-. Table 1. GDP growth and the impact from integration, At the same time, the preservation of incentives for sound fiscal policymaking and for addressing structural weaknesses at national level was key.

Consensus existed on the fact that permanent transfers and moral hazard have to be avoided. For the designs of a fiscal capacity, multiple options were discussed in the academic debate, depending on the preferred function for a future capacity. There have been specific contributions on a 'rainy day fund', an unemployment insurance scheme, and a public investment strategy.

In this setting, the common budgetary capacity should be created as a 'rainy day fund' that should accumulate financing through all countries on good times, to provide for funding in bad times. Most of euro area countries would have been net contributors to the fund until and net recipients during the crisis. For the entire period, the average net contribution by each country would have been close to zero, showing that risk sharing of this type need not entail permanent transfers from one part of the euro area to the other. Unemployment insurance schemes.

Advocates of an unemployment insurance scheme as an important tool on the European level to stabilise asymmetric shocks suggested that such a scheme could help decrease the pro-cyclicality of national fiscal policies, particularly in downturns. It would also require labour market convergence. In their view there are two alternatives: a fully-fledged insurance scheme or a limited scheme based on reinsurance. With a limited scope, supplementing other insurance schemes, the reinsurance scheme would only act in bad times, to extend the duration of unemployment benefits and with co-financing.

Limited payments would mitigate moral hazards. Public investment strategy.

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To stabilise economic weaknesses it was stated by some experts that public investment should be stimulated via a public investment strategy addressing the economic weaknesses of the euro area, to which the fiscal capacity would be dedicated. The suggestion was made to impose a golden rule of public investment and to create European and national investment programs.

In this view public net investment should be exempted from deficit rules. Another proposal focused on the lack of private investment which it attributed to an excess of savings and a lack of structural reforms. Instead of focusing solely on labour markets, reforms should also target education systems and product markets since enhanced productivity and higher education levels would eventually trigger investments.

Reforms should go hand in hand with better legislation. Most argued that the choice for the design and shape of the facility needs to be a political one. There were many ways a fiscal capacity could be implemented, all having their technical and political difficulties. Possible resources for financing the capacity. In the discussion on possible resources three possibilities were explicitly mentioned: borrowing ESM resources or issuing common bonds, using ECB dividends and introducing European taxes.

As an alternative the issuance of common bonds was mentioned. When the same basis as ESM is chosen, rapid scaling when necessary is an advantage of this resource.


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Other experts suggested a slightly different design in the form of stability bonds, only dedicated to stabilisation. European taxes limit the scope of national taxes, as the total amount of taxes should not be increased. The sort of taxes that should be imposed is a political question. Whether that would require treaty change was challenged based on article Instead, being the final recipients of these dividends, Member States could decide to transfer them to a common fiscal capacity. Challenges, conditions and obstacles. Depending on the view on the designs of a budgetary capacity for the euro area, a broad range of challenges and possible obstacles were addressed.

Three challenges were discussed in multiple contributions: the probable limited size of a euro area capacity, lack of convergence resulting in a risk of permanent transfers, and the dangers of moral hazard. Limited size. It was commented that a future common fiscal capacity would probably have a limited size given the political challenges at play. Another contribution emphasized that the capacity should be as big as is politically feasible.

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Multiple speakers commented that the limited size that a fiscal capacity for the euro area would probably have provided challenges. Nonetheless, it was argued that a common budgetary capacity could have a limited size when endowed with limited functions.

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If the capacity was solely dedicated to macroeconomic stabilisation it has been shown by several studies that a small budget could produce significant temporary transfers. This was especially the case if it should concentrate on big shocks and would be balanced over the whole cycle. A facility with a size of approximately 1. One expert also considered that a short term solution to address issues related to a possible limited size of a genuine euro area budget as well as legal constraints, while addressing asymmetric shocks in the euro area, would be to build on a Commission ex ante assessment of the fiscal stance for the euro area for the next year, and to translate this at national level in a prescriptive way.

Lack of convergence. It was argued by some contributors that a lack of convergence created the risk of permanent transfers. As stated earlier, there was agreement that permanent transfers should be avoided. Nevertheless, it was recognized that the risk of permanent transfers would exist within a common fiscal capacity. It was discussed that this risk could be overcome with convergence and structural reforms as this would improve ex ante risk sharing and subsequently avoid permanent fiscal transfers.

In the same vein, the American model of federal unemployment insurance system was considered compatible with the heterogeneous nature of labour markets in the euro area. A challenge to the scheme was, however, that it would require convergence on the labour market.

Table of contents

Therefore an effort had to be made for "reconvergence" as it was named. Moral hazard. The risk of moral hazard was broadly acknowledged in the academic debate. The prospect of fiscal support would possibly decrease the need for budgetary discipline. To avoid moral hazard it was noted that stronger governance structures and better enforcement mechanisms were important. Moral hazard was also explicitly discussed in the framework of an unemployment benefit scheme.

In the context of a limited unemployment benefits scheme, moral hazard could thus be avoided by only extending the national insurance period rather than replacing national schemes. Institutional framework for governance. To care for good implementation and execution of the budgetary capacity for the euro zone the importance of a stronger governance framework was explicitly mentioned. It was argued that ex-ante risk sharing would go hand in hand with stronger governance.

Some experts especially stressed the requirement of joint decision making with strong common institutions. On this area multiple observations have been made: on a euro zone treasury, on an independent European Fiscal Board EFB and on how to deal with democratic legitimacy. This treasury should provide support based on well-defined criteria. Some argued that this institution should be accountable to the European Parliament. With this base rapid scaling when necessary is an advantage. This independent board could define when a Member States is suffering from exceptional circumstances.

Exceptional times would be situations in which the ECB is not able to stabilise the economy with monetary policy alone. The EFB should define this distinction based on transparent criteria. When the exceptional times are defined, support would be based on the independent analysis.

After independent analysis by the EFB, scrutiny would have to be exercised by the European Parliament and it should be debated in national Parliaments. It was argued that the structure would depend on the structure that is chosen for the fiscal capacity. As an option the creation of a euro area senate was suggested. To conclude the first working document an extensive, but non-exhaustive list of questions was inserted to trigger discussions on the follow-up of this document.


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  6. The various answers received by the political groups within the EP to these questions reflect the diversity and sensitivity of the political debate. Why is a fiscal capacity needed to achieve a genuine EMU? In one of the contribution the flaws of EMU were acknowledged. It was stated that the euro crisis gave evidence that a common currency cannot work decently without common fiscal, economic and political integration, relying on controlling the money supply through a central bank alone.

    One of the shadow rapporteurs argued that before commenting on the necessity of a euro area fiscal capacity, the goal of a genuine fiscal and economic policy would need to be defined. What functions should a budgetary capacity for the euro area fulfil? In addition to the discussion on functions in the first working document, some shadow rapporteurs argued that the document should elaborate more on certain functions, i.

    Public investment. In one contribution it was mentioned that a fiscal capacity should not only be a responsive tool in case of country-specific shocks but also to actively prevent the development of macroeconomic imbalances within the euro zone and enable Member States to achieve full employment. Therefore a focus on public investment policies was needed. The responsibility for the avoidance and correction of macroeconomic imbalances should lie with Member States. The fiscal capacity could assist them in achieving these goals, without conditionality linked to particular policy measures.

    According to this contribution, to deal with imbalances, divergence of Current Account balances, at the heat of the recent crisis, needed to be avoided. The fiscal capacity should have an aim for a balanced Current Account to avoid unsustainable levels of external debt. A symmetric treatment to correct account surpluses and deficits would reduce the need of transfers between Member States, with regard to economic stability. It would also render adverse fiscal rules superfluous, as with low external debt, public deficits could be funded via corporate and private household savings at the discretion of Member States, without risking the need for bail-out via other Member States.

    In another contribution on this same theme, guaranteeing aggregate demand at full employment level, without creating internal imbalances was seen as the main objective of the euro zone budgetary capacity. To solve the current lack of aggregate demand in Member States with positive externalities, it was necessary both to either recycle or avoid surpluses and to perform huge public investments at EU level.

    In this view there should be more focus on current account surpluses than solely on deficits. Structural reforms. In this view a budgetary capacity which is integrated into the budgetary framework but clearly separated from the Multiannual Financial Framework MFF should support structural reforms that are not covered by the MFF.

    Its focus should be on the financing of policies stimulating growth and jobs and thereby increasing the overall competitiveness and stability of the EU. Necessary reforms were conducive to more investment, profitable projects and productivity enhancing. Structural reforms were necessary to complement monetary policies according to this contribution, because past decades had shown that sole fiscal transfers do not guarantee Member States to catch up.

    Risk sharing would not lead to gains in competitiveness and would not fundamentally improve the basis for sustainable economic growth in the long-term. Member States could be offered conditional support solely for the implementation of agreed structural reforms to enhance competitiveness. Systematic, regular and independent evaluations would thus be necessary to ensure that all spending is achieving the desired outcome.

    Performance outcomes were more important than simply spending appropriations available. It was also proposed that a budgetary capacity could foster the convergence among Member States towards a common currency area. Further trade integration, the improvement of labour market mobility and flexibility could act as ex-ante shock absorbers.

    Thus, growth-enhancing structural reforms that foster the improvement of the functioning of the EU Single Market would have to be promoted. Until a complete implementation of the Banking Union is in place, further risk reduction was necessary until Member States see the risk of moral hazard sufficiently reduced to agree to some form of risk mutualisation. Meanwhile, the promotion of necessary structural reforms to increase convergence among Member States was an ex-ante shock absorber by itself. Besides these functions that needed elaboration, there a comment was also made on unemployment insurance.

    It welcomed support to unemployed people but stressed the support scheme should also be able to boost growth and jobs. The focus of a scheme would have to lie at employing the unemployed by contracting them for well-designed investments. How to strike the right balance between solidarity and responsibility, by addressing issues including geographical distribution effects, moral hazard and permanent transfers? Comments were made on the role of solidarity tools envisaged in the Four Presidents' report June within the framework of building a fiscal union.

    In this view the concept of solidarity tools would have to be elaborated as part of the report. Another contribution focused on the risk of moral hazard within the different designs of a fiscal capacity. It was stressed that countries could become less concerned about reducing debt knowing that ultimately an insurance fund would bail them out.

    In this view even greater mutual surveillance and stronger governance will not be sufficient to avoid moral hazard, as implementation and enforcement of the European Semester or Country Specific Recommendations are often ignored. SGP rules are too often not adhered to by Member States and the Commission is not fully and coherently using sanction mechanisms. The moral hazard problem was also stressed when discussing 'eurobonds' as part of the framework.

    Thus, countries would build up unsustainable debt and risk default. Another challenge to the fiscal capacity was addressed on the area of cyclically-sensitive economic indicators. Thus, the measurement of the cyclical component of the unemployment rate or growth rate was erratic. While a country with an economic downturn caused by exogenous circumstances should be entitled to solidarity and possible short-term transfers, economic downturns caused by bad policy should not. The distinction between exogenous and endogenous factors causing economic downturns was complex and subject to the perception of what is good or bad policy.

    In addition, poorer countries would pay for the unemployed in richer countries, according to this contribution. How should the budgetary capacity be financed? Several contributions were received on the topic of financing. It was stated that funding should not be provided through regressive taxes, i. VAT, to avoid the adverse effect on domestic demand. Transfers between Member States under the fiscal capacity should take the form of investment rather than financing consumptive purposes, which should be financed via taxes.