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Policy Contribution

The Greek debt trap: an escape plan

Without corrective measures, Greek public debt will exceed 190 percent of GDP, instead of peaking at the anyway too-high target ratio of 167 percent of GDP of the March 2012 financial assistance programme. The rise is largely due to a negative feedback loop between high public debt and the collapse in GDP, and endangers Greek membership of the euro area. But a Greek exit would have devastating impacts both inside and outside Greece.

By: Date: November 9, 2012 Topic: Macroeconomic policy

A small reduction in the interest rate on bilateral loans, the exchange of European Central Bank holdings, buy-back of privately-held debt, and frontloading of some privatisation receipts are unlikely to be sufficient.

A credible resolution should involve the reduction of the official lending rate to zero until 2020, an extension of the maturity of all official lending, and indexing the notional amount of all official loans to Greek GDP. Thereby, the debt ratio would fall below 100 percent of GDP by 2020, and if the economy deteriorates further, there will not be a need for new arrangements. But if growth is better than expected, official creditors will also benefit.

In exchange for such help, the fiscal sovereignty of Greece should be curtailed further. An extended privatisation plan and future budget surpluses may be used to pay back the debt relief.

The Greek fiscal tragedy highlights the need for a formal debt restructuring mechanism.

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Opinion

European governance

Can EU fiscal rules jump on the green bandwagon?

By and large, setting a new green golden rule would be a useful addition to the existing EU fiscal framework.

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European governance, Green economy, Macroeconomic policy Date: October 22, 2021
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External Publication

A world recovery fund to overcome developing countries’ post-covid debt woes?

Proposal to set up a World Recovery Fund (WRF), aimed at addressing some of the key problems with the design of the DSSI and more generally the existing international financial architecture for dealing with debt problems in the developing world.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global economy and trade Date: October 6, 2021
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Podcast

Podcast

A green fiscal pact

How can the European Union increase green public investment while consolidating budget deficits?

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: European governance, Macroeconomic policy Date: September 29, 2021
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Policy Contribution

European governance

A green fiscal pact: climate investment in times of budget consolidation

Increasing green public investment while consolidating deficits will be a central challenge of this decade. A green fiscal pact would address this tension, but difficult trade-offs remain.

By: Zsolt Darvas and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European governance, Macroeconomic policy Date: September 9, 2021
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Policy Contribution

The risks from climate change to sovereign debt in Europe

European Union institutions and national fiscal authorities should incorporate climate risk in debt sustainability analysis.

By: Stavros Zenios Topic: Green economy Date: July 8, 2021
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Past Event

Past Event

EU debt vs national debts: friends or foes?

The EU will become into a major issuer of safe assets in the coming years. How will this interact with the debt issuance of European sovereign debts?

Speakers: Grégory Claeys, Yves Jacob, Gert-Jan Koopman, Pablo de Ramón-Laca and Imène Rahmouni-Rousseau Topic: Macroeconomic policy Date: June 29, 2021
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Blog Post

Setting Europe’s economic recovery in motion: a first look at national plans

Plans for spending European Union recovery funds submitted by the four largest EU countries reflect rather different priorities. So far, only Italy is interested in borrowing from the EU.

By: Zsolt Darvas and Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Macroeconomic policy Date: April 29, 2021
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Past Event

Past Event

Sovereign ratings during crises: is this time different?

Why, despite the increase in public debt levels around the world have sovereign ratings been largely unaffected by the COVID-19 crisis?

Speakers: Grégory Claeys, Alexandra Dimitrijevic, Judith Arnal Martínez and Daniel Vernazza Topic: Macroeconomic policy Date: April 27, 2021
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Blog Post

EU debt as insurance against catastrophic events in the euro area: the key questions and some answers

European Union debt can provide comprehensive insurance against the COVID-19 pandemic and can enable a macroeconomic response, even though EU debt is a liability for taxpayers in EU countries and therefore indirectly for national budgets. To establish it, countries will need to give up control over some spending and some revenues. To be politically sustainable, that control should not be intergovernmental but be grounded in EU institutions. The EU Treaty offers some possibilities, but treaty change might ultimately be necessary. Democratic legitimacy is at the core of the debate.

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Macroeconomic policy Date: April 22, 2020
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Opinion

The perils of more debt

Europe must find the “Ways and Means”.

By: Maria Demertzis, Nicola Viegi and Bruegel Topic: Macroeconomic policy Date: April 10, 2020
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Blog Post

Incorporating political risks into debt sustainability analysis

DSA applies to crisis countries only, but an early warning system identifying vulnerabilities is relevant for all countries. A more general, less stringent, debt vulnerabilities analysis (DVA) could be used to assess countries’ debt management policies and identify vulnerabilities, without leading immediately to policy consequences. A more general framework could also incorporate political risks that are significant determinants of debt dynamics

By: Andrea Consiglio and Stavros Zenios Topic: Global economy and trade, Macroeconomic policy Date: January 22, 2020
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Blog Post

‘Lo spread’: The collateral damage of Italy’s confrontation with the EU

The authors assess whether the European Commission's actions towards Italy since September 2018 have had a visible impact on the spread between Italian sovereign-bond yields and those of Germany, and particularly whether the Commission’s warnings have acted as a ‘signalling device’ for bond-market participants that it might be difficult for Italy to obtain the support of the ESM or the ECB’s OMT programme if needed.

By: Grégory Claeys and Jan Mazza Topic: Macroeconomic policy Date: July 8, 2019
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