Will Germany be caught up in the recession of its European partners?

Christophe Blot and Sabine Le Bayon

Can Germany avoid the recession that is hitting a growing number of countries in the euro zone? While Germany’s economic situation is undoubtedly much more favourable than that of most of its partners, the fact remains that the weight of exports in its GDP (50%, vs 27% for France) is causing a great deal of uncertainty about the country’s future growth. Continue reading “Will Germany be caught up in the recession of its European partners?”

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What risks face the Greeks if they return to the drachma?

By Anne-Laure Delatte (associate researcher of the Forecasting Department)

The debate about whether the Greeks will stay in the euro zone is intensifying. Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, has lamblasted the Greek government. The German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, believes that the euro zone can now deal with a Greek exit, and that the Greeks no longer have a choice. What would be the risks for the Greeks of a return to the drachma? Would this inevitably plunge the country into chaos? Argentina’s experience with returning to the peso in 2002 provides some insight. Continue reading “What risks face the Greeks if they return to the drachma?”

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Less austerity = more growth and less unemployment

Eric Heyer and Xavier Timbeau

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.

Continue reading “Less austerity = more growth and less unemployment”

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The financial markets: Sword of Damocles of the presidential election

By Céline Antonin

Although some of the candidates may deny it, the financial risk linked to the fiscal crisis in the euro zone is the guest of honour at the presidential campaign. As proof that this is a sensitive issue, the launch in mid-April of a new financial product on French debt crystallized concerns. It must be said that this took place in a very particular context: the Greek default showed that the bankruptcy of a euro zone country had become possible. Despite the budgetary firewalls in place since May 2010 (including the European Financial Stability Fund), some of France’s neighbours are facing a lack of confidence from the financial markets, which is undermining their ability to meet their commitments and ensure the fiscal sustainability of their government debt, the most worrying example to date being Spain. What tools are available to speculators to attack a country like France, and what should be feared in the aftermath of the presidential election? Continue reading “The financial markets: Sword of Damocles of the presidential election”

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Must balancing the public finances be the main goal of economic policy

By Henri Sterdyniak

The financial crisis of 2007-2012 caused a sharp rise in public deficits and debt as States had to intervene to save the financial system and support economic activity, and especially as they experienced a steep drop in tax revenues due to falling GDP. In early 2012, at a time when they are far from having recovered from the effects of the crisis (which cost them an average of 8 GDP points compared to the pre-crisis trend), they face a difficult choice: should they continue to support activity, or do whatever it takes to reduce public deficits and debt? Continue reading “Must balancing the public finances be the main goal of economic policy”

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The new European treaty, the euro and sovereignty

By Christophe Blot

On 2 March 2012, 25 countries in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) adopted a new treaty providing for greater fiscal discipline. The treaty became an object of dispute almost before the ink was dry [1], as Francois Hollande announced that, if elected, he would seek to renegotiate it in order to emphasize the need to address growth. There is no doubt that a turnabout like this on a treaty that was so fiercely negotiated would be frowned upon by a number of our European partners. The merit of strengthening fiscal discipline in a time of crisis is, nevertheless, an issue worth posing. Continue reading “The new European treaty, the euro and sovereignty”

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He who sows austerity reaps recession

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. Continue reading “He who sows austerity reaps recession”

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Austerity is not enough

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. Continue reading “Austerity is not enough”

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Estonia: a new model for the euro zone?

By Sandrine Levasseur

In the wake of the Swedish and German models, should Europe now adopt the Estonian model? Despite Estonia’s success story, the answer is no. Here’s why. Continue reading “Estonia: a new model for the euro zone?”

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What new European austerity plans await us in 2012?

By Eric Heyer

To meet French commitments vis-à-vis Brussels to a general government deficit in 2012 of 4.5% of GDP, the French Prime Minister Francois Fillon announced a new plan to cut the budget by 7 billion euros. Will the plan, announced 7 November, be sufficient? Certainly not! So what new austerity plans should we expect in the coming months, and what impact will they have on growth in 2012? Continue reading “What new European austerity plans await us in 2012?”

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