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Is there a future for the EU after the crisis? Olaf Cramme Director, Policy Network & Visiting Fellow, LSE

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Presentation on theme: "Is there a future for the EU after the crisis? Olaf Cramme Director, Policy Network & Visiting Fellow, LSE"— Presentation transcript:

1 Is there a future for the EU after the crisis? Olaf Cramme Director, Policy Network & Visiting Fellow, LSE

2 The European Puzzle Short-term crisis resolution in the eurozone: a consensus is now forming about what needs to be done, but no one seems to knows how to do it. Long-term predicaments for the EU: few seem to understand what (and how profound) they are, but many are convinced (or at least hope) they will somehow be manageable.

3 The economics of the Eurozone crisis The immediate financial/fiscal problems Insolvency of Greece Fragility of Portugal, Spain and Italy (“contagion”) The capitalisation and interconnectedness of European banks The structural dilemma Huge macro-economic imbalances inside the Eurozone (surplus versus deficit countries; divergence in competitiveness; etc.)

4 The economics of the Eurozone crisis Main interim measures Bail-out programmes for Greece, Ireland and Portugal ECB bond purchasing programmes (mainly for Italy and Spain) European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) A comprehensive resolution package for the short-term More powerful EFSF and then permanent European Stability Mechanism (from 2013 onwards) Greek debt restructuring plus “haircut” (i.e. debt write-down incl. private sector involvement) Re-capitalisation of European banks Budgetary surveillance/coordination plus economic convergence programmes (European Semester, EU2020 Strategy, Euro-Plus-Pact; etc) A growth and competitiveness plan, in particular for the Southern countries

5 The politics of the Eurozone crisis The origins of the crisis 1.Global financial crisis of triggered by sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US 2.European banks heavily affected, forcing EU governments to step in and bail out their “national” banks 3.Effects on “real economy” leading to a deep recession across the EU (with very few exceptions, such as Poland) 4.Banking crisis (plus recession) triggered sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone, continously driven by market pressure (channelled via “credit rating agencies”) -> How many “externalities” can politics internalise?

6 The German view

7 The Greek view

8 The politics of the eurozone crisis Cultural/attitudinal dilemmas Fiscally prudent North versus profligate South? The spectre of a “transfer union” (or debt union) The limits of European solidarity Institutional dilemmas Inadequate decision-making procedures in the EU/Eurozone and various member states (e.g. EFSF ratification process) Lack of leadership at the national and European level Representational dilemmas The temporary loss of sovereignty and self-determination The rise of populist parties across the EU -> Can the European political “system” deliver against this background?

9 The long-term: economics Monetary question What inflation and interest rate policy in a non-optimal currency zone? Trade question Faced with Asian export dominance and weak(er) US demand, can the euro area as a whole become a ‘surplus bloc’ if Germany does not balance its current account? Debt question Is debt mutualisation (e.g. through Eurobonds) possible despite the veto of Germany’s constitutional court?

10 The long-term: politics Debate about the EU’s alleged, perceived or real “democratic deficit” EU democratic politics before the sovereign debt crisis (the role of the ECJ; the absence of constitutional politics; the principle of proportionality) The shifting space for EU politics after the crisis (a new “conditionality regime”; the salience of procedural issues; mainstream versus populism?)

11 Europe’s political trilemma (Adopted and modified from Rodrik/O’Rourke)

12 Two-speed Europe Old debate (see e.g. Schäuble/Lamers paper in the 1990s) broadly differentiating three models: (a) Multi-speed integration (b) Europe à la carte (c) Concentric circles Yet implications of deeper integration in the Eurozone on the EU-27 possibly far- reaching (role of economic governance, decision-making procedures; Single Market reform; financial regulation, etc.) Significant U-turn in the position of the UK: current government now openly endorses a two-speed Europe. What will this mean for Britain?

13 The British view?

14 Scenarios for Britain 1.The UK leaves the EU (e.g. through an ‘in or out referendum’ – but would it be won?) 2.The UK as a new Switzerland/Norway with access to the Single Market or inside the EEA; or alternatively with an indefinite numbers of EU opt-outs (e.g. by holding the Eurozone to ransom?) 3.The UK as a critical, reserved but pragmatic EU insider: business as usual for UK-EU relations, although future treaty changes might be used to repatriate some powers from Brussels 4.The UK moves closer to the EU by joining common policy programmes such as the Euro-Plus-Pact; by taking a lead in modernising the European Social Model; by brokering a new bargain for the completion of the Single Market; by revitalising Europe’s defence cooperation; etc.


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