Blog Post

In praise of German conservatism

Europe has been used to Germany providing a strong monetary anchor since the collapse of Bretton Woods, but Europe should also value the strength of the German fiscal anchor. By running a balanced budget at the peak of the economic cycle in 2007 (sustained also into 2008), Germany was well equipped to lay its fiscal […]

By: Date: June 24, 2010 Topic: Global Economics & Governance

Europe has been used to Germany providing a strong monetary anchor since the collapse of Bretton Woods, but Europe should also value the strength of the German fiscal anchor. By running a balanced budget at the peak of the economic cycle in 2007 (sustained also into 2008), Germany was well equipped to lay its fiscal credibility on the line when doing so became essential for the future cohesion of monetary union. At a time of crisis for Europe, it is indeed fortunate that the German budget deficit ratio to GDP this year is likely to be a relatively moderate 4% (or thereabouts).

Advocates of fiscal activism have been served a sharp reminder by bond market vigilantes that there is no such thing as a free lunch. As with quantitative easing by central banks, fiscal activism is a useful tool to have, but works only if the institutional framework is sufficiently credible. This is why it is now so important for the G20 members to demonstrate fiscal solvency – for they are the ultimate “back‐stop” of confidence. Europe in particular must find new ways of demonstrating fiscal competence, given the failure to adhere to the existing rulebook.

In this context, the G20 offers an ideal forum for mutual understanding and learning, especially since most of its “non‐G7” members have emerged with significantly stronger fiscal positions, and also in many cases are now substantial sources of financing. The recent decision by China to adopt a more flexible exchange rate sends an important signal of both confidence and cooperation for the future.

The next few years will see profound changes in fiscal, regulatory and structural policies. The G20 provides the correct forum for all policymakers to evaluate the interaction of these factors, which is likely to be complex. In turn, while monetary policy has a leading role to play in sustaining confidence, it will also be vital for central banks to adopt flexible, nimble and pragmatic policies, particularly in terms of evaluating and therefore seeking to anticipate the implications of these changes, including potential changes in monetary policy.

In short, steering the G20 economies into a path of sustainable growth, to bring down exceptionally high unemployment in the US and Europe, will be a major challenges and will require a particularly high level of alertness on the part of all governments and central banks.


Republishing and referencing

Bruegel considers itself a public good and takes no institutional standpoint. Anyone is free to republish and/or quote this post without prior consent. Please provide a full reference, clearly stating Bruegel and the relevant author as the source, and include a prominent hyperlink to the original post.


Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/bruegelo/public_html/wp-content/themes/bruegel/content.php on line 449
View comments
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Global Imbalances

The recent IMF’s External Sector Report highlighted the persistence of imbalances and a switch of imbalances towards advanced economies. We review recent contributions on this topic.

By: Silvia Merler Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: September 21, 2017
Read about event More on this topic

Upcoming Event

Sep
26
12:30

Global Excess Imbalances: How worried should we be?

This event will discuss excess external imbalances, risks from current configuration of imbalances, and potential policy responses to help correct imbalances while supporting global growth.

Speakers: Gustavo Adler, Zsolt Darvas, Maria Demertzis and Luis Cubeddu Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read about event

Upcoming Event

Sep
28
12:30

Unfinished business: The unexplored causes of the financial crisis and the lessons yet to be learned

At this event Tamim Bayoumi will present his upcoming book on the financial crisis, showing how the Euro crisis and U.S. housing crash were, in fact, parasitically intertwined.

Speakers: Tamim Bayoumi, Maria Demertzis and Aerdt Houben Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

14th Asia Europe Economic Forum (AEEF)

The 14th Asia Europe Economic Forum will be held in Seoul on 20-21 September 2017.

Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Seoul, Korea Date: September 20, 2017
Read about event More on this topic

Upcoming Event

Oct
2
10:00

Europe and Japan: Monetary policies in the age of uncertainty

The 5th Bruegel - Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University conference will focus on monetary policy.

Speakers: Kosuke Aoki, Ulrich Bindseil, Grégory Claeys, Zsolt Darvas, Ester Faia, Lex Hoogduin, Martin Hellwig, Miles Kimball, Eric Lonergan, Benoît Mojon, Tamotsu Nakamura, Marianne Nessén, Athanasios Orphanides, Wataru Takahashi, Tokiko Shimizu and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read about event More on this topic

Upcoming Event

Oct
11
08:30

EU - CELAC Economic Forum- Channels for a joint future

On 11 October Bruegel together with GIGA and Real Instituto Elcano will organise a conference on relations between the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

Speakers: Paola Amadei, Angel Badillo, Paulo Carreño King, Darío Chirú, Linda Corugedo Steneberg, Guillermo Fernández de Soto, Bert Hoffmann, Enrique V. Iglesias, Trinidad Jimenez, Emilio Lamo de Espinosa, Maryleana Méndez Jiménez, Luicy Pedroza, Mario Pezzini, Mario Soares, Everton Vargas, Dylan Vernon and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

Is China Deleveraging? Too Early to Cheer

This blog post was originally published on BRINK “Deleveraging” is the new buzzword in China. The leadership clearly wants to scale back its epic borrowing, but it is not necessarily ready to pay the price for it, namely, the price of having less support for growth. The question is whether the recent efforts of China’s leadership to […]

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: September 13, 2017
Read article More by this author

Podcast

Podcast

Surprising priorities for Europe and China

Bruegel’s Alicia García-Herrero and Robin Niblett of Chatham House discuss a new joint report on EU-China relations. How easy was it to find common ground with Chinese partners? And what should be the priorities for economic cooperation between Europe and China?

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: September 13, 2017
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

EU-China economic relations: looking to 2025

This event will see the launch of a report on EU-China relations and discuss issues such as trade and investment, industrial cooperation and innovation and global governance

Speakers: Victor Chu, Ian Davis, Alicia García-Herrero, Dame Clara Furse, Tony Graziano, Anatole Kaletsky, K.C. Kwok, Lawrence J. Lau, Ina Lepel, Hanna Müller, André Sapir, Robin Niblett, György Szapáry, Jean-Claude Trichet, Zhang Yansheng, H.E. Ambassador Yang Yanyi, Liu Xiangdong, Gunnar Wiegand, Guntram B. Wolff, Huang Ping and Elena Flores Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: September 13, 2017
Read article Download PDF More on this topic

Book/Special report

EU–China Economic Relations to 2025. Building a Common Future

The EU and China, as the world’s second and third largest economies, share a responsibility in upholding the rules-based, global free trade system and other forms of multilateral cooperation, especially on combating climate change. This report sets out the main conclusions of a research project between European and Chinese think-tanks, which addresses the prospects for the EU–China economic relationship. A Joint Report by Bruegel, Chatham House, the China Center for International Economic Exchanges and the Institute of Global Economics and Finance at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

By: Alicia García-Herrero, K.C. Kwok, Tim Summers, Liu Xiangdong and Zhang Yansheng Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: September 13, 2017
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

Hong Kong should add the euro to its dollar peg

Volatility offers an opportunity for the territory to rethink its strategy. With the economy now more synchronised with China than ever before, the dollar peg may no longer provide an accurate reflection of the real value of the Hong Kong dollar.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: September 12, 2017
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

North Korea: sanctions and marketization from below

What’s at stake: despite Western sanctions, North Korea has been in the news all summer. The country was in the spotlight for the death of American student of Otto Warmbier in June, and for the frequent missiles tests in July and August. We review recent contributions on the impact of economic sanctions.

By: Silvia Merler Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: September 11, 2017
Load more posts