The European Council meeting being held at the end of the week should have been spent, according to the wishes of the French authorities, on renegotiating the European Fiscal Compact adopted on 2 March 2012. However, renegotiation has not been on the agenda. Alas, the Fiscal Compact does need to be re-opened for debate: it should be denounced for being poorly drafted, and its overly restrictive character needs to be reviewed; ultimately, the text should be amended. The focus of the debate on the structural deficit rule, which is unfairly described as the “golden rule”, is wide of the mark in so far as it is the rule on the reduction of public debt that is the more restrictive of the two rules included in the Fiscal Compact. This is the rule that demands to be discussed, and urgently, in order to avoid sinking deeper into a contagion of austerity plans that are doomed in advance… Lire la suite de « European Council: wait and sink? »
The European Commission has just released its spring forecast, which anticipates a recession in 2012 for the euro zone (“mild” in the words of the Commission, but still -0.3%), which is in line with the OFCE’s economic analysis of March 2012.
by Jérôme Creel, Xavier Timbeau and Philippe Weil  Lire la suite de « A letter to President François Hollande »
By the Department of Analysis and Forecasting, headed by X. Timbeau
This article summarizes OFCE note no.16 that gives the outlook on the global economy for 2012-2013.
The sovereign debt crisis has passed its peak. Greece’s public debt has been restructured and, at the cost of a default, will fall from 160% of GDP to 120%. This restructuring has permitted the release of financial support from the Troika to Greece, which for the time being solves the problem of financing the renewal of the country’s public debt. The contagion that hit most euro zone countries, and which was reflected in higher sovereign rates, has been stopped. Tension has eased considerably since the beginning of 2012, and the risk that the euro zone will break up has been greatly reduced, at least in the short term. Nevertheless, the process of the Great Recession that began in 2008 being transformed into a very Great Recession has not been interrupted by the temporary relief of the Greek crisis. Lire la suite de « He who sows austerity reaps recession »
By André Grjebine and Francesco Saraceno
It is certainly possible to question whether the role acquired by the rating agencies in the international economy is legitimate. But if in the end their message must be taken into account, then this should be done based on what they are really saying and not on the economic orthodoxy attributed to them, sometimes wrongly. This orthodoxy is so prevalent that many commentators are continuing to talk about the decision by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) to downgrade the rating of France and other European countries as if this could be attributed to an insufficiently strong austerity policy. Lire la suite de « Austerity is not enough »
by Jérôme Creel, Xavier Timbeau and Philippe Weil [archivage et redirection]
By Sabine Le Bayon
Should deficit reduction be the priority of governments today?
The constraints imposed by the Stability Pact and especially by the financial markets on Europe’s governments do not leave them much leeway. But while there is no avoiding the issue of the sustainability of public debt, we also need to take into account the recessionary impact of austerity programs on economic activity, particularly during a period of recovery. Lire la suite de « Fiscal consolidation wrong-footed »
Il est grand temps, pour rappeler les marchés à la réalité, de ressortir l’emprunt forcé de l’arsenal budgétaire/ Time is ripe for governments to take out of their fiscal armoury the weapon that has served them so well in war and peace alike: forced borrowing
A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of sovereign default. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Brussels and Frankfurt, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, French socialists and German Christian Democrats. Churchillian doctors, they prescribe blood, sweat and tears – fiscal consolidation, tax increases and spending cuts. Lire la suite de « Forced borrowing: the WMD of fiscal policy »