News & Comments

We welcome short entries about relevant European or national developments for this News and Comments section. You are invited to use the contact form for this or to directly contact Thomas Beukers (thomas.beukers@eui.eu) or Viorica Vita (viorica.vita@eui.eu).


16 february: EP adopts resolution on euro area budgetary capacity

February 17, 2017

During the EP's plenary session, a resolution prepared by MEPs Reimer Böge (EPP, DE) en Pervenche Berès (S&D, FR) was adopted on a budgetary capacity for the euro area. The resolution states the following principles: "The transfer of sovereignty over monetary policy requires alternative adjustment mechanisms such as the implementation of growth-enhancing structural reforms, the […]

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13 february: European Commission publishes winter forecast 2017

February 13, 2017

In its 2017 winter forecast, which is at the basis of its economic policy decisions in the European economic governance framework, the European Commission concludes that the European economic recovery is expected to continue this year and next: for the first time in almost a decade, the economies of all EU Member States are expected […]

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8 february: SRB finalises loan facility agreement with all 19 participating states

February 8, 2017

Read the SRB press release here.

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7 february: IMF staff report on Greek debt sustainability published

February 7, 2017

An IMF staff report published on 7 February calls on the euro area to offer significant debt relief to Greece. It summarises: "Despite the policy constraints imposed by its membership in the currency union, Greece has made significant progress in unwinding its macroeconomic imbalances. But extensive fiscal consolidation and internal devaluation have come with substantial […]

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31 January: European Parliamentary Week discusses economic governance

January 31, 2017

The 2017 European Parliamentary Week included a European Semester Conference (for the exchange information on best practices in implementing the Semester cycles, and to strengthen cooperation in order to scrutinise the actions of the executive at national and European levels within the framework of the European Semester cycle) and an interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic […]

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17 January: High Level Group on Own Resources publishes final report

January 17, 2017

The High Level Group on Own Resources, led by former Commissioner and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, and established in February 2014 to reflect on finding more transparent, simple, fair and democratically accountable ways to finance the EU, published its final report with suggestions on the future financing of the EU. Among the many recommendations […]

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17 January: Commission adopts updated opinion on Spanish and Lithuanian budgets

January 17, 2017

The Commission conclused that Spain, which is currently in the corrective arm, is broadly compliant with the Stability and Growth Pact in 2017; Lithuania, which is in the preventive arm, instead is deemed at risk of non-compliance pending the assessment of requested flexibility. Read the press release here.

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14 December: Eurogroup blocks debt relief in reaction to Greek 2017 budget

December 14, 2016

After Greece adopted its 2017 budget with a tight 152-146 majority on Saturday 10 December, including a total of 617 million to around 1.6 million low-income pensioners, the Eurogroup has circulated a statement concluding that the necessary unanimity for Greek debt relief (see this ESM explainer) is now lacking: "- The institutions have concluded that […]

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12 December: IMF claims it is not asking for more Greek austerity

December 12, 2016

In a blogpost, IMF economist Obstfeldt and Director of the IMF's European Department Thomsen have reacted to criticism that the IMF would be demanding more fiscal austerity for Greece, in particular for making this a condition for urgently needed debt relief. According to Obstfeldt and Thomsen, these allegations are not true. For the IMF a primary […]

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8 December: ECB extends (reduced) QE until end of 2017

December 8, 2016

The ECB Governing Council on 8 December decided to extend its asset purchase programme programme, broadly considered as the ECB version of quantitative easing (QE) until at least the end of 2017, although from April 2017 monthly purchases will be reduced from €80 billion to €60 billion. Read the ECB press release on its decision […]

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5 December: Eurogroup disagrees with Commission on fiscal stance

December 5, 2016

In its recommendation of 16 November for a Council recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area, the European Commission had called for a positive fiscal stance, inviting member states with budgetary space to invest (especially Germany and the Netherlands). The Eurogoup disagrees, arguing that a broadly neutral aggregate fiscal stance in 2017 is appropriate. […]

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5 December: Eurogroup agrees on short-term debt sustainability measures for Greece

December 5, 2016

The Eurogroup of 5 December 2016 discussed the sustainability of Greek public debt with the objective to regain market access. In this context, the Eurogroup endorsed today the full set of short-term measures on the basis of proposals by the ESM and preparatory work by the EWG, which will be implemented by the ESM following […]

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22 November: European Parliament debates EU economic priorities and European Semester

November 22, 2016

Read the statement by the European Commission's Vice-President Dombrovskis here. The European Parliament's press release reads: "Various ways to avoid or cushion the negative impact of austerity were debated in Tuesday's morning debate with Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis on EU economic priorities in 2017 and yearly “European Semester” economic policy coordination work. While some MEPs […]

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21 November: Commission presents ex post evaluation of Portuguese financial assistance programme

November 22, 2016

A team of economists of the European Commission has carried out an ex post evaluation of the three year EU/IMF financial assistance for Portugal, which ended in May 2014. Lessons are drawn for the future on issues such as the importance of a focus on the most macro-critical weaknesses affecting the functioning of the economy […]

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16 November: Commission invites countries with fiscal scope to invest

November 16, 2016

In the words of the European Commission: "From an economic perspective, the overall euro area stance should be differentiated depending on the situations of countries in terms of sustainability and stabilisation. A number of Member States in the south-east of the fiscal map still have significant consolidation needs.The south-west quadrate shows Member States, which have […]

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16 November: Commission finds risk of non-compliance with SGP in several 2017 draft budgets

November 16, 2016

In its assessment of the draft budgetary plans of the euro area Member States (non taking into account Greece which is not subject to the same procedure because of its financial assistance programme), the European Commission has found no cases of serious non-compliance with the requirements of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). However, in […]

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15 November: former Greek Finance Minister Papaconstantinou presents new book at EUI

November 15, 2016

Today George Papaconstantinou, former Finance Minister of Greece and author of ‘Game Over: The Inside Story of the Greek Crisis’, the point man in the Greek economic and financial crisis, presented his his new book at the EUI and gave the insider's view of the Greek Crisis as experienced by him. When he became Finance […]

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Upcoming 22 November: ADEMU lecture ‘The Euro and the Battle of Ideas’ with Harold James

November 10, 2016

The lecture will take place on 22 November at Villa La Fonte (EUI) and will start at 5PM. You can register here.

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7 November: Eurogroup informed about state of banking union

November 7, 2016

The Eurogroup of 7 November heard presentations by Danièle Nouy, the Chair of the European Central Bank's Supervisory Board, and Elke König, the Chair of the Single Resolution Board (SRB). They briefed the Eurogroup on recent developments in the financial sector, on the two institutions' main activities in the past months, and on their key […]

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25 October: Commission asks clarification on euro area member state budgetary plans

October 25, 2016

The European Commission has asked several euro area member states for clarification on their draft budgetary plans for 2017, relating to issues such as reassurances on the behaviour of incoming governments, clarification on demands for flexibility, compliance risks with the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). All member states apart from Greece presented their plans in accordance with article 6(1) […]

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17 October: euro area member states present draft budgetary plans

October 17, 2016

All euro area member states – except for Greece – have presented their draft budgetary plans for 2017 in accordance with article 6(1) of Regulation (EU) No. 473/2013. The Commission now has to adopt an opinion on the draft budgetary plans as soon as possible and in any event by 30 November (article 7(1) of […]

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11 October: Workshop The European Banking Union and Its Instruments – Experience from the First Years of an Interplay with National Banking Supervision and Resolution

October 11, 2016

After two years of existence, it is time to focus on what happened in practice for the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) and the Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM), i.e. in the core of the Banking Union, in Member States and beyond the EU. The workshop gathers as broad a range of perspectives as possible with a […]

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10 October: Eurogroup clears way for partial approval of disbursement to Greece by the ESM Board of Directors

October 10, 2016

The Eurogroup adopted the following statement on the first review of the Greek ESM Programme: "The Eurogroup welcomes the implementation by the Greek authorities of the set of 15 milestones in the context of the first review of the ESM programme. The Eurogroup commends the Greek authorities for adopting the necessary further measures to reform […]

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10 October: ADEMU lecture by René Smits on Sustainable Economic and Monetary Union in Europe in turbulent times

October 10, 2016

Starting from a legal-institutional perspective, the lecture is scheduled to sketch the major challenges for researchers and policymakers alike in the areas of economic governance, monetary union and banking union with a view to the sustainability of Europe's Economic and Monetary Union. Multidisciplinary approaches are called for. Policies and research should be embedded in a […]

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3 October: structured dialogue between Commission and EP on suspending funds for Spain and Portugal

October 3, 2016

Following the Council decision of 12 July 2016 that both Spain and Portugal had under the excessive deficit procedure failed to take effective action in response to Council recommendations under article 126(8) TFEU, on 3 October a structured dialogue took place between the Commission and EP on one of the consequences of this decision, namely suspension […]

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30 September: Dijsselbloem and Stiglitz discuss the euro

September 30, 2016

At the occasion of the publication Stiglitz' most recent book The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe, the nobel prize winner and the president of the Eurogroup debated the future of the euro at an event organised by the John Adams Institute in Amsterdam. Read more on Dijsselbloem's thoughts on the book […]

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20 September: Council adopts recommendation on creation of national productivity boards

September 20, 2016

Read the Council press release below: "On 20 September 2016, the Council issued a recommendation calling on the eurozone member states to establish national productivity boards.  The boards will  analyse developments and policies that can affect productivity and competitiveness. They will provide independent analyses and reinforce policy dialogue at the national level. This will help reforms […]

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20 September: ECJ judgments on the liability of EU institutions within the ESM and the legal nature of the Eurogroup (Ledra Advertising and Mallis Case)

September 20, 2016

Both cases were started by a number of Cypriot account holders that suffered losses from the bank restructuring that followed from the Cypriot request for financial assistance from the ESM. In the Ledra Advertising case, the Grand Chamber of the Court established that the Commission and ECB can be liable for their actions under the […]

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9 September: informal ECOFIN discusses fiscal capacity

September 9, 2016

External presentations were given at the informal ECOFIN, one of which was based on a paper by Brueghel on the prerequisites of a euro area fiscal capacity.

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8 August: no fines for Spain and Portugal and extension of excessive deficit deadline

August 8, 2016

Following up on its decision of 12 July under article 126(8) TFEU establishing that Spain and Portugal had violated the Stability and Growth Pact, the Council on 8 August has taken a decision imposing a fine on both countries which was however reduced to zero. With regard to the imposition of a fine on Spain, […]

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29 July: EBA publishes stress test results

July 29, 2016

The European Banking Authority on Friday has published the results of its 2016 stress test, testing the resilience of the European banking sector to an adverse scenario. This time around the test only provided information on the 51 tested banks in the EU/EEA, without a pass or fail threshold. See http://www.eba.europa.eu/risk-analysis-and-data/eu-wide-stress-testing/2016 and http://www.eba.europa.eu/-/eba-publishes-2016-eu-wide-stress-test-results

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28 July: IMF self-critical of Greek bailout

July 28, 2016

The Internal Evaluation Office (IEO) of the IMF on Thursday night 28 July has published a highly critical report on the institution's participation in the Greek bailouts. The report on the role of the IMF in the Greek, Irish and Portuguese crises comes at an important moment, as the IMF is still formally to decide on […]

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27 July: no fines for Spain and Portugal

July 28, 2016

The European Commission, making use of discretionary powers it has under the Six Pack of economic governance legislation, recommends not to impose fines (technically: to impose fines of zero euro) on Spain and Portugal because of the fiscal efforts both countries have made (although not meeting the targets) and the social challenges they are facing. The […]

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20 July: EP wants say over possible suspension of funds

July 20, 2016

EP President Schulz told the European Commission on 20 July that his institution wants to have a say in a decision to suspend structural funds for Spain and Portugal, following the Council's decision of 12 July that both countries have failed to take effective action under the excessive deficit procedure. See the news coverage by Euractiv: http://www.euractiv.com/section/euro-finance/news/meps-step-in-to-ease-sanctions-over-deficit-rules/

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18 July: Spain and Portugal try to avoid SGP fines

July 18, 2016

Both countries have submitted to the Commission their arguments for only imposing symbolic sanctions, after the Council had decided on12 July thar Spain and Portugal had failed to take effective action on the Council recommendations of June 2013. According to the SGP rules, both countries had a week to convince the Commission not to impose a […]

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12 July: Council decides Spain and Portugal failed to take effective action

July 12, 2016

In an unprecedented decision of 12 July, the ECOFIN Council has decided, in line with the Commission recommendation of 7 July, that both Spain and Portugal have failed to take effective action under the excessive deficit procedure. This is the first time the Council has taken such a decision under article 126(8) TFEU, setting in motion […]

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11 July: IMF discusses Italian banking sector concerns in Article IV consultation

July 12, 2016

Amidst talks between Brussels and Rome about possible recapitalisation of the Italian banking sector, suffering from a high burden of non-performing loans and the impact of the UK referendum on Brexit, as well as the application of European state aid rules, the IMF has published its 2016 Article IV consultation on Italy. Read the full […]

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7 July: Commission recommends Council decision establishing no effective action by Spain and Portugal

July 7, 2016

The European Commission has adopted two recommendations to the Council establishing that both Spain and Portugal have failed to take effective action in light of their respective Council recommendations of 21 June 2013. Should the Council take over the recommendation of July 7, the Commission will have to propose what consequences it should have in […]

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4 July: ECB instructs Italian bank to meet non-performing loan requirements

July 4, 2016

Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena has received a draft-letter from the ECB setting out instructions to reduce its exposure to bad loans. The Italian bank has been given until 8 July to present its arguments to Frankfurt. Read the press release of Monte dei Paschi di Siena confirming the letter here. On the […]

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1 July: After Brexit: What next for the EMU, EU and UK? – ADEMU Webinar

July 1, 2016

A week after the UK referendum on EU membership, the ADEMU Horizon2020 research project has organised a webinar on three pressing questions: 1) Should the EMU be accelerated to become a centre of gravity within the EU, or slowed down to avoid a centrifugal diaspora? If accelerated, how? 2) Should an ‘exit’ country be allowed […]

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