Spanish cohesion is currently facing a severe test in the chaotic conflict surrounding the referendum on Catalan independence. Of particular importance is the fiscal dimension of the issue. A highly influential argument of the independence movement is pointed to the financial burden placed on the region combined with Catalonia’s limited budgetary autonomy. EconPol network member Friedrich Heinemann/Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) shows: This is an experience that Europe should pay extremely close attention to, given the ambitious reform proposals currently discussed for the EU and the euro area many of which point to greater centralisation. ...Details
Juncker’s proposals on the euro area are lacking in substance and coherence. His starting point was that the euro should be considered the currency of the Union, not just the currency of some Member States. From a formal point of view this is correct, as the euro is indeed designated in the European Treaties as the currency of the Union. The countries that are not part of the euro area are considered to have a temporary derogation. Network member David Gros, Director of CEPS, says that the reality is, however, different and explains why small, concrete steps aimed at strengthening financial stability would have been more useful. ...Details
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was set up in a time when the memory about post-war food shortage was fresh, Europe was a large net importer of agricultural products, agricultural production was highly labour-intensive and significant shares of the work-force received their major income from the agricultural sector. Today, agricultural production is capital-intensive with a low share of total labour employed and food spending. Read in this paper by network member Friedrich Heinemann/ZEW why CAP in its current size is still part of the problem and which conclusions should be urgently drawn. ...Details