Download publication

Policy Contribution

Intra-euro rebalancing is inevitable but insufficient

Greece, Portugal and Spain face a serious risk of external solvency due to their close to minus 100 percent of GDP net negative international investment positions, which are largely composed of debt. The perceived inability of these countries to rebalance their external positions is a major root of the euro crisis. The euro has depreciated recently, but more is needed to support the extra-euro trade of southern euro-area members. A weaker euro would also boost exports, growth, inflation and wage increases in Germany, thereby helping further intra-euro adjustment and the survival of the euro.

By: Date: August 31, 2012 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

Greece, Portugal and Spain face a serious risk of external solvency due to their close to minus 100 percent of GDP net negative international investment positions, which are largely composed of debt. The perceived inability of these countries to rebalance their external positions is a major root of the euro crisis.

Intra-euro rebalancing through declines in unit labour costs (ULC) in southern Europe, and ULC increases in northern Europe should continue, but has limits because:

  • The share of intra-euro trade has declined.
  • Intra-euro trade balances have already adjusted to a great extent.
  • The intra-euro real exchange rates of Greece, Portugal and Spain have also either already adjusted or do not indicate significant appreciations since 2000.
  • There are only two main current account surplus countries, Germany and the Netherlands.
  • A purely intra-euro adjustment strategy would require too-significant wage increases in northern countries and wage declines in southern countries, which do not seem to be feasible.

Before the crisis, the euro was significantly overvalued despite the close-to balanced current account position.

The euro has depreciated recently, but more is needed to support the extra-euro trade of southern euro-area members. A weaker euro would also boost exports, growth, inflation and wage increases in Germany, thereby helping further intra-euro adjustment and the survival of the euro.

Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Podcast

Podcast

Did the Eurogroup save the day?

After its longest meeting ever, the Eurogroup reached an agreement yesterday evening. What does the agreement say? What does it mean in terms of the emergency reaction to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic? What does it mean, more broadly, for the future of Europe? This week, Giuseppe Porcaro is joined by Maria Demertzis, André Sapir and Guntram Wolff to discuss whether the Eurogroup can save the day.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 10, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Opinion

The perils of more debt

Europe must find the “Ways and Means”.

By: Maria Demertzis and Nicola Viegi Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 10, 2020
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

The Sound of Economics Live: Can the Eurogroup save the day?

In this episode of The Sound of Economics, we analyse the Eurogroup's 'rescue plan' amidst the economic fallout brought about by the COVID-19 health crisis.

Speakers: Maria Demertzis, Giuseppe Porcaro, André Sapir and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: April 10, 2020
Read article Download PDF More by this author
 

External Publication

European Parliament

Promoting product longevity

How can the EU product safety and compliance framework help promote product durability and tackle planned obsolescence, foster the production of more sustainable products, and achieve more transparent supply chains for consumers? Product longevity can play a useful role in achieving the Paris Agreement goals – material efficiency is an important contributor to energy efficiency and is also important in its own right. The product safety and compliance instruments available at European level can contribute to these efforts, if wisely applied.

By: J. Scott Marcus Topic: Energy & Climate, European Macroeconomics & Governance, European Parliament Date: April 9, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Blog Post

COVID-19: The self-employed are hardest hit and least supported

Self-employed workers are hardest-hit by COVID-19 lockdowns. Yet they often receive less government support than salaried employees. Is the disparity justified?

By: Julia Anderson Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 8, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Blog Post

Social distancing: did individuals act before governments?

Using online searches for restaurants as a proxy to assess whether and to what extent individuals were practicing social distancing before strict lockdown measures, we identify substantial differences between countries. In some countries, including Denmark and Portugal, searches for restaurants were considerably down before restaurant restrictions were put in place. Countries where social distancing started earlier, regardless of when policies were enacted, can expect a flatter coronavirus curve.

By: Catarina Midões Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 7, 2020
Read about event More on this topic
 

Upcoming Event

Apr
21
13:00

The role of Cohesion policy in the fight against COVID-19 with Elisa Ferreira

How can cohesion funds help the National, regional and local communities that are on the frontline in countering the coronavirus and the resulting economic crisis.

Speakers: Jim Brunsden, Maria Demertzis and Elisa Ferreira Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

A European response to the coronavirus crisis with Paolo Gentiloni

This is the second event in our series with the Financial Times, where Paolo Gentiloni will discuss the European response to the coronavirus crisis.

Speakers: Paolo Gentiloni, Mehreen Khan and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: April 6, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Opinion

A European approach to fund the coronavirus cost is in the interest of all

We had not seen a common challenge as clear as this pandemic. The sum of national actions and programs is likely to be insufficient.

By: Agnès Bénassy-Quéré, Arnoud Boot, Elena Carletti, Jan Krahnen, Miguel Otero-Iglesias, Lucrezia Reichlin, Dirk Schoenmaker and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 6, 2020
Read about event
 

Upcoming Event

Apr
23
13:00

Tackling the rise of cybercrime amid COVID-19 with Ylva Johansson

How can the European Union fight the cybercriminals that are exploiting the coronavirus crisis?

Speakers: Ylva Johansson and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

A temporary, common fiscal stimulus to answer the mayhem of COVID-19

We are not in normal times and we have to surpass, albeit only for the duration of the COVID-19 shock, the hurdles that did not allow the euro-area to endow itself of a common fiscal policy.

By: Francesco Papadia Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 2, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

Will the economic strategy work?

Because even thriving companies can be killed in a matter of weeks by a recession of the magnitude now confronting the world, advanced-economy governments have reacted in a remarkably similar fashion to the COVID-19 crisis. But extending liquidity lifelines to private businesses and supporting idled workers assumes a short crisis.

By: Jean Pisani-Ferry Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 1, 2020
Load more posts