Brexit: the November 25th agreement

By Catherine Mathieu and Henri Sterdyniak

The United Kingdom will leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 at midnight, two years after the UK government officially announced its wish to leave the EU. Negotiations with the EU-27 officially started in April 2017. Continue reading “Brexit: the November 25th agreement”

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Brexit: Roads without exits?

By Catherine Mathieu and Henri Sterdyniak

The result of the referendum of 23 June 2016 in favour of leaving the European Union has led to a period of great economic and political uncertainty in the United Kingdom. It is also raising sensitive issues for the EU: for the first time, a country has chosen to leave the Union. Continue reading “Brexit: Roads without exits?”

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The minimum wage: from labour costs to living standards. Comparing France, Germany and the UK

By Odile Chagny, IRES, Sabine Le BayonCatherine Mathieu, Henri Sterdyniak, OFCE

Most developed countries now have a minimum wage, including 22 of the 28 EU countries. France has long stood out for its relatively high minimum wage, the SMIC. But in 1999, the United Kingdom introduced a minimum wage, and the British government’s goal is to raise this level to 60% of the median wage by 2020, which would bring it to the level of France’s SMIC and among the highest-ranking countries in the OECD. More recently, in 2015, Germany also introduced a minimum wage. Continue reading “The minimum wage: from labour costs to living standards. Comparing France, Germany and the UK”

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Brexit: Pulling off a success?

By Catherine Mathieu and Henri Sterdyniak

Will the EU summit of 14-15 December 2017 usher in a new phase of negotiations on the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union?

British Prime Minister Theresa May wants to make Brexit a success and to arrange a special partnership between the UK and the EU, a tailor-made partnership that would allow trade and finance to continue with minimal friction after the UK leaves the EU, while restoring the UK’s national sovereignty, in particular by regaining the ability to limit the immigration of workers from the EU and by no longer being subject to the European Union Court of Justice (EUCJ). For the EU-27 countries, on the contrary, it must be made clear that leaving the EU incurs a significant economic cost, with no significant budgetary gain, that those who leave must continue to accept a major share of European rules and that they cannot claim the benefits of the single market without bearing the costs. Other Member States should not be tempted to follow the British example. Continue reading “Brexit: Pulling off a success?”

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Growth and inequality in the European Union

By Catherine Mathieu and Henri Sterdyniak

“Growth and Inequality: Challenges for the Economies of the European Union” was the theme of the 14th EUROFRAME Symposium on Economic Policy Issues in the European Union held on 9 June 2017 in Berlin. EUROFRAME is a network of European economic institutes that includes DIW and IFW (Germany), WIFO (Austria), ETLA (Finland), OFCE (France), ESRI (Ireland), PROMETEIA (Italy), CPB (Netherlands), CASE (Poland) and NIESR (United Kingdom). Since 2004, EUROFRAME has organized a symposium on an important subject for the European economies every year. Continue reading “Growth and inequality in the European Union”

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Britain’s referendum of 23 June 2016: The leap into the unknown

 

By Catherine Mathieu

On 23 June 2016, the British people decided (by 52% to 48%) to leave the European Union. After having long criticized the functioning of the EU and the constraints that it placed on the United Kingdom, on 19 February 2016 David Cameron obtained an agreement intended to allow the UK to remain in the EU – but it was not enough to convince the voters. In an OFCE Policy Brief (No. 1 of 13 July), we analyze how the British people’s concerns went beyond economic issues and that what counted was their desire to maintain (or regain) their political sovereignty. Continue reading “Britain’s referendum of 23 June 2016: The leap into the unknown”

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Brexit: What are the lessons for Europe?

By Catherine Mathieu and Henri Sterdyniak

The British vote to leave the European Union is aggravating the political crisis in Europe and in many European countries. Leaving the EU has become a possible alternative for the peoples of Europe, which may encourage parties advocating national sovereignty. The United Kingdom’s departure automatically increases the weight of the Franco-German couple, which could destabilize Europe. If Scotland leaves the UK to join the EU, independence movements in other regions (Catalonia, Corsica, etc.) could seek a similar outcome. But the fragility of Europe also stems from the failure of the strategy of “fiscal discipline / structural reforms”. Continue reading “Brexit: What are the lessons for Europe?”

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The national living wage: a new means to boost low wages in the United Kingdom

By Catherine Mathieu

On 1 April 2016, a national living wage (NLW) took effect in the United Kingdom. This may come as a surprise to France, where the UK labour market is considered the epitome of a deregulated market. This new minimum wage, the NLW, adds 50 pence to the existing minimum hourly wage (the National Minimum Wage, NMW) for those over age 25, meaning a rise from £6.70 to £7.20, or 7.5%. This follows a 3.1% increase in the minimum wage in October 2015 for those over age 25 (from £6.50 to £6.70), for a total increase in one year of 10.8%. This sharp increase in the minimum wage does not represent a sudden change of course by the government. The Conservative election platform for the 2015 parliamentary elections already promised a raise in the minimum wage and pointed towards the introduction of a living wage. The announcement that the NLW would be established was made in July 2015, during the presentation of the budget by George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, following the Conservatives’ election victory. This is simply the first step in an effort to raise low wages, as the government has a target of increasing the NLW to 60% of the median wage by April 2020 (up from 55% at present), to about 9 pounds.[1] Continue reading “The national living wage: a new means to boost low wages in the United Kingdom”

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A new EU arrangement for the United Kingdom: European lessons from the February 19th agreement

By Catherine Mathieu  and Henri Sterdyniak

Following the demand made by David Cameron on 10 November 2015 for a new arrangement for the United Kingdom in the European Union, the European Council came to an agreement at its meeting of 18 and 19 February. On the basis of this text, the British people will be called to the polls on 23 June to decide whether to stay in the EU. This episode raises a number of questions about the functioning of the EU. Continue reading “A new EU arrangement for the United Kingdom: European lessons from the February 19th agreement”

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The British elections: border questions (2/2)

By Catherine Mathieu

David Cameron has put the economy at the forefront of his electoral campaign, making the British economy’s good performance a trump card in the Conservative programme (see “The UK on the eve of elections …“). But, according to the polls, when May 7 comes to a close no party will be able to govern alone. While in 2010, the uncertainty was whether the Liberal Democrats would choose to ally with the Conservatives or the Labour Party, this time there is even greater uncertainty, as several parties are likely to be in a position to swing the outcome. The Liberal Democrats have lost popularity following five years of participation in government and are likely to receive less than 10% of the votes, behind the nationalist United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP, with about 12% of voting intentions), which calls for the United Kingdom to leave the EU and won the last European elections. Continue reading “The British elections: border questions (2/2)”

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