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SnapshotsMay 5, 2020 | 15:23 GMT
A German Court Ruling Could Trigger a Financial Crisis in Europe
A German court ruling could jeopardize the continuity of one of the European Union's bond-buying programs and result in higher borrowing costs for Southern European countries at a time when their debt levels are increasing due to the COVID-19 crisis. On May 5, Germany's constitutional court ruled that the European Central Bank (ECB) must provide additional clarifications about the Public Sector Purchase Programme (PSPP), which buys sovereign debt from eurozone countries in secondary markets, within three months. Otherwise, the Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, will not be allowed to continue participating in the program. This would probably mean the end of the PSPP, given that the Bundesbank is the ECB’s largest shareholder. The ruling also opens the door to eventual legal challenges to the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program (PEPP), the 750 billion euro ($816 billion) stimulus package that the ECB launched in March. Should the PEPP end abruptly, the recession in the eurozone
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AssessmentsFeb 3, 2020 | 10:30 GMT
The historic facade of Frankfurt's Grossmarkthalle, now part of the building of the European Central Bank (ECB), is illuminated on March 16, 2018.
The ECB's Strategy Review Isn't Set to Rock the Boat
It's unclear what the European Central Bank wants to accomplish in the nearly yearlong strategy review it announced on Jan. 23, but the last thing a central bank wants is to be considered irrelevant. So, even though years of monetary stimulus have failed to push up eurozone inflation or growth, the ECB isn't about to admit it's out of policy ammunition; instead, it's set to make a big show about tweaking its de facto inflation target and pave the way for President Christine Lagarde to introduce environmental concerns into future assessments of financial stability and the ECB's remit. Given that the ECB has not reviewed its strategy since 2003, a new appraisal of its economic model raises hopes of possible major changes to the central bank's approach and instruments. No one, however, should expect significant changes in the bank's monetary operations this year or next given its existing accommodative policies,
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AssessmentsNov 16, 2018 | 10:00 GMT
Members of the European Parliament vote during a plenary session on Nov. 14, 2018, in Strasbourg, France.
A Contentious Year Awaits the EU in 2019
2019 is shaping up to be an extraordinary year for the European Union. A few months after the United Kingdom leaves the union in March, the bloc will elect a new European Parliament. That election will be followed with the selection of a new European Commission and new presidents of the European Central Bank and the European Council. This will be the first time in EU history that posts and seats in so many key institutions have been filled in the same year. And while these changes will generate a new political order that will take the union into the next decade, they also will come as key states are appearing vulnerable and anti-EU strength is growing.
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AssessmentsOct 30, 2018 | 12:17 GMT
The skyline in London is all aglow as the sun sets on Aug. 16, 2018.
Banking After Brexit: Who Will Be the New London?
The United Kingdom's approaching departure from the European Union in March 2019 has raised concerns about how the split will affect London's bustling, heavily influential financial sector. The British government is currently focused on two negotiation topics: making sure that trade in goods remains unaffected by Brexit and ensuring that the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland remains open. The European Union has offered the United Kingdom a comprehensive free trade agreement similar to the one it recently signed with Canada. However, both proposals focus primarily on goods, leaving companies in all service sectors -- and especially the financial sector -- with open questions about Brexit's impact.
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AssessmentsMar 25, 2017 | 13:15 GMT
The cracks in the EU were there even when the 1957 Treaty of Rome was signed.
Where the Cracks in Europe's Foundations Began
The European experiment that brought a war-weary Continent together was set in motion 60 years ago in Rome. On March 25, 1957, France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands signed the Treaty of Rome to form the European Economic Community, the center around which the European Union eventually coalesced. In the decades that followed, the six-nation club in Western Europe evolved into a continentwide organization that affects the lives of more than 500 million people and encompasses 28 (soon to be 27) countries. While the Treaty of Rome led to the creation of the largest trade bloc in the world, it also established an institutional model that is showing clear signs of fatigue.
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On GeopoliticsFeb 14, 2017 | 08:00 GMT
Dark clouds over the Reichstag building in Berlin may be a sign of things to come.
A Storm Is Brewing Over Europe
Storm clouds are once again gathering above the eurozone. In coming months, its continuity will be threatened by events in Europe and the United States. Germany, the largest political and economic player in Europe, will try to keep the bloc together. But the crisis could be too big for Berlin to handle, especially since some of the actors involved see Germany as a part of the problem rather than the solution.
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AssessmentsOct 19, 2016 | 09:15 GMT
At the headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, the bank's officials are mulling changes to its bond-buying regimen, which supports its quantitative easing program.
Europe's Central Bank Is in a Bind Over Bonds
The European Central Bank (ECB) is in a bind. Since increasing its quantitative easing program in April, the institution has had to purchase 80 billion euros' worth of bonds each month to meet its self-imposed quota. But the pool of eligible bonds is shrinking and could run out before the end of the year. Meanwhile, the quantitative easing program is nearing its expiration date, set for March 2017. Soon, the ECB -- under the watchful eyes of German politicians whose electorate is growing ever warier of the central bank's policies -- will have to decide whether to extend the program. Despite the various factors complicating its decision, the ECB will probably opt to prolong its bond-buying regimen beyond March while changing its rules to increase the number of bonds eligible for purchase.
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AssessmentsAug 1, 2016 | 09:30 GMT
European Banks' Struggles Will Continue
European Banks' Struggles Will Continue
European regulators officially consider most banks in the eurozone stable, despite the timid economic growth and low interest rates in the currency area. Most banks in the eurozone have enough capital to face a new economic crisis, according to stress tests by the European Banking Authority (EBA) on July 29. The tests come as the banking sectors of several EU members are dealing with multiple sources of vulnerability. In recent weeks, Italian banks have come under intense scrutiny from investors, analysts and politicians. Most of the attention has focused on Monte dei Paschi, which has required two state bailouts in recent years. Other institutions, including Italy's largest bank, UniCredit, have seen their share prices decline sharply in recent weeks. Since the beginning of the year, the shares of Germany's Deutsche Bank, weighed down by low earnings and multiple lawsuits, have dropped by half. Spanish banks are probably stronger than they
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AssessmentsFeb 29, 2016 | 10:30 GMT
Technological advancements are making cash-free transactions easier than ever, but there are also distinct structural advantages to a cashless economy.
A World Without Cash
The eurozone has found a new scapegoat for international crime: the 500-euro note. The Continent's leaders are seriously discussing decommissioning the euro's highest denomination, which is favored by crime groups for transferring massive sums across international borders. Eliminating the bank note could help temper criminal activity, but in reality the implications are much greater. The idea is just the most recent step in an ongoing process moving Europe, and indeed the world, closer to an entirely cashless economy.
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ReflectionsFeb 16, 2016 | 22:19 GMT
Germany's Unsettling Plan for Southern Europe
Europe should be feeling quite unsettled following the European Parliament's questioning of European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi on Monday. Of the questions, there were two that strike at the core of the latest struggles within the eurozone. The first was about the veracity of recent revelations that the Italian treasury is in talks with the ECB about including bundles of nonperforming loans in its asset purchase program. Draghi responded that the ECB would not buy such assets directly but that it may accept them as collateral in exchange for funds. The second was related to a plan that originated in the German Council of Economic Experts that would involve a shakeup in the way European sovereign bonds are treated, with potentially disastrous consequences for Southern Europe. This question he deflected.
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Contributor PerspectivesJan 27, 2016 | 08:00 GMT
European flags fly at half-mast as a tribute to late South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela at the Berlaymont European Union Commission buiding in Brussels on December 6, 2013. Former South-African President Mandela, a global colossus and Nobel peace laureate died on December 5 aged 95.
Why Europe's Great Experiment Is Failing
The slow-motion crisis of the European Union finally seems to be coming to a head. For more than 60 years after its beginnings in the late 1940s, the bloc's revolutionary path of forming a state without the use of centralized coercive power enabled it to gradually master its members' tribalism and local strategic interests. But by denying itself the very possibility of enforcing its rules with violence, Europe has brought itself to the brink of failure.
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