The chiaroscuro of the ECB’s “forward guidance” *

By Paul Hubert and Fabien Labondance

“The Governing Council expects the key interest rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time.” With this pronouncement on 4 July 2013 at the press conference following the monthly meeting of the European Central Bank Board of Governors, Mario Draghi initiated the adoption by the ECB of a new communication strategy called “forward guidance”. Since then these words have always been included in his speech following announcements of the ECB’s monetary policy, and he has repeated them again today [1]. What should we expect? Forward guidance has recently been adopted by several central banks, but the methods chosen by the ECB differ and indicate that this measure will have only limited effectiveness in the euro zone. Continue reading “The chiaroscuro of the ECB’s “forward guidance” *”

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Austerity in Europe: a change of course?

By Marion Cochard and Danielle Schweisguth

On 29 May, the European Commission sent the members of the European Union its new economic policy recommendations. In these recommendations, the Commission calls for postponing the date for achieving the public deficit goals of four euro zone countries (Spain, France, Netherlands and Portugal), leaving them more time to hit the 3% target. Italy is no longer in the excessive deficit procedure. Only Belgium is called on to intensify its efforts. Should this new roadmap be interpreted as a shift towards an easing of austerity policy in Europe? Can we expect a return to growth in the Old Continent? Continue reading “Austerity in Europe: a change of course?”

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France: why such zeal?

By Marion Cochard and Danielle Schweisguth

On 29 May, the European Commission sent the members of the European Union its new economic policy recommendations. As part of this, the Commission granted France an additional two years to reach the deficit reduction target of 3%. This target is now set for 2015, and to achieve this the European Commission is calling for fiscal impulses of -1.3 GDP points in 2013 and -0.8 point in 2014 (see “Austerity in Europe: a change of course?”). This would ease the structural effort needed, since the implementation of the previous commitments would have required impulses of -2.1 and -1.3 GDP points for 2013 and 2014, respectively. Continue reading “France: why such zeal?”

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Tales from EDF

By Evens Saliesa

The challenge facing policy-making on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is not just environmental. It is also necessary to stimulate innovation, a factor in economic growth. Measures to improve energy efficiency [1] demand high levels of investment to transform the electricity network into a smart grid. Continue reading “Tales from EDF”

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