Cover of Working Paper 37

Euro Area Reform Preferences of Central and Eastern European Economic Experts

Sebastian Blesse (EconPol Europe, ZEW Mannheim), Annika Havlik (EconPol Europe, ZEW Mannheim and University of Mannheim), Friedrich Heinemann (EconPol Europe, ZEW Mannheim and University of Heidelberg)

A variety of reforms have been implemented to improve the institutional set-up of the euro area over the last decade. Nevertheless, the political and academic reform debate remains intense and the future of the euro area is unclear. One striking feature of the ongoing debate is that it is characterized prominently by contributions from larger euro countries from Western Europe. This study was conducted to balance the dominance of Western European politicians and academics in the euro area reform debate. It explored the positions of 1800 economic experts from Central and Eastern European member states on a range of European Monetary Union reform topics, which were compared to benchmarks of surveyed experts in France, Germany and Italy. The results provide the first database to map expert communities in all CEE EU member states relative to the three reference countries.

Abstract

This study explores the positions of economic experts from Central and Eastern European (CEE) Member States in the euro reform debate. Given the dominant voices from French and German politicians and acacemics in the European discourse, there is an obvious neglect for the positions of CEE countries. Our study tries to fill this gap with a large survey among economic expert communities in all CEE countries conducted in spring 2019. We compare euro reform preferences to benchmarks of surveyed experts in France, Germany, and Italy. We discuss implications for the ongoing euro area reform with a particular focus on several non-euro members’ growing reluctance to introduce the common currency. We argue that only a balanced reform package that combines solidarity with debt self-responsibility could foster the euro’s appeal in the CEE region.

Citation

Sebastian Blesse, Annika Havlik, Friedrich Heinemann: Euro Area Reform Preferences of Central and Eastern European Economic Experts, EconPol Working Paper 37, December 2019