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An ocean apart: Comparing transatlantic responses to the financial crisis

Has the EU-US relationship become a sideshow or is it still central to the global economy? Conflicting signals have been sent out since the outbreak of the global crisis. The creation of the G20 and its designation as ‘the premier forum for international cooperation’ suggest that attention and priorities have moved away from the traditional […]

By: , and Date: March 12, 2011 Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation

Has the EU-US relationship become a sideshow or is it still central to the global economy? Conflicting signals have been sent out since the outbreak of the global crisis. The creation of the G20 and its designation as ‘the premier forum for international cooperation’ suggest that attention and priorities have moved away from the traditional G7 focus on the transatlantic economy. But most of the key policy debates of the last two years have retained a characteristically transatlantic flavour. This applies to the controversy about the pace of consolidation which resulted in an open US-German rift at the Toronto summit in June 2010; to the discussion on the new bank capital ratios which again was essentially a euro- American affair; and to the broader conversation on the priorities of financial regulatory reform, for which the big action agendas have been the US Dodd-Frank Act and the European endorsement of a blueprint for coordinated supervision and a single European macroprudential body.

True, other issues – the global rebalancing, or the creation of global financial safety nets – have had a distinctive G20 scope. But at least a fair share of the international debate has been transatlantic.

There are reasons for this state of affairs. To start with, what is known as the global crisis has been first and foremost a transatlantic crisis. As discussed in several contributions in this volume, the wake of the crisis financial integration through portfolio diversification essentially remained an EU-US phenomenon.

Accordingly the subsequent financial turmoil primarily affected the European and American financial systems, and other economies indirectly only, through trade or capital outflows. It is therefore natural to see the same two regions take the lead in setting the agenda for financial reform. Second, the problems they are facing in the aftermath of the shock – the travails of deleveraging, unemployment, the need for unconventional policy responses, the lowering of the growth potential, the rise of public debt, political pressures for protection – are largely common. Third, while they are not the main contributors to world growth, the EU and the US still constitute the bulk of the global economy, and what happens to them matters considerably for all.

The US and the EU however are not responding to the same shock in the same way and this is what makes the comparison interesting. It is telling that the sovereign debt crises developed in Europe in the first half of 2010 and triggered a move towards consolidation while the US fiscal situation is by most standards worse than the aggregate European situation. It is telling also that the priorities of financial reform have not been the same. Clearly neither the policy space nor the policy traditions are identical and this portends significant divergence across the Atlantic. How far this divergence will go and whether policymakers on the two continents will disagree or agree to disagree is one of the key questions for the future of the global economy in the years to come.

All this justifies a revival of the transatlantic economic conversation. The joint Banca d’Italia-Bruegel-Peterson Institute conference, held in Rome on 10-11 September 2009 with the support of the European Commission, aimed to contribute to the conversation through research and policy discussions. We hope that the papers collected in this volume will help foster a fact-based, analytically sound discussion.


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Germany’s savings banks: uniquely intertwined with local politics

German savings banks, known as Sparkassen, form an important feature of the country's banking assets. Unlike in other European countries, German Sparkassen also hold direct links with local political communities. This post focuses on the Sparkassen's structural links and relationships with elected politicians. Three findings which do not appear to have been specifically documented previously stand out.

By: Jonas Markgraf and Nicolas Véron Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: July 18, 2018
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As we approach the final rounds of the tournament, here are some recent contributions about the economics and economic impact of the World Cup.

By: Silvia Merler Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: July 9, 2018
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Opinion

Ubu ou Machiavel?

L'administration Trump veut imposer une approche transactionnelle des relations économiques gouvernée par le rapport de force bilatéral en lieu et place du contrat multilatéral. Un défi d'une ampleur inédite pour l'Europe.

By: Jean Pisani-Ferry Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: July 6, 2018
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Ukraine: The struggle for reforms continues

The modernisation of the Ukrainian economy and state continues to develop at an unsatisfactory pace due to a lack of pro-reform political consensus. The two upcoming election campaigns in 2019 (presidential and parliamentary) make the reform process even slower and additionally put its effectiveness and sustainability under risk. The international community has a limited toolkit to overcome this stalemate.

By: Marek Dabrowski Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: July 4, 2018
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Upcoming Event

Sep
3-4
08:30

Bruegel Annual Meetings 2018

The 2018 Annual Meetings will be held on 3-4 September and will feature sessions on European and global economic governance, as well as finance, energy and innovation.

Speakers: Maria Åsenius, Richard E. Baldwin, Carl Bildt, Nadia Calviño, Maria Demertzis, Mariya Gabriel, Péter Kaderják, Joanne Kellermann, Jörg Kukies, Emmanuel Lagarrigue, Philippe Lespinard, Montserrat Mir Roca, Dominique Moïsi, Jean Pierre Mustier, Ana Palacio, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Lucrezia Reichlin, Norbert Röttgen, André Sapir, Jean-Claude Trichet, Johan Van Overtveldt, Margrethe Vestager, Reinhilde Veugelers, Thomas Wieser, Guntram B. Wolff and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate, European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation, Global Economics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Brussels Comic Strip Museum, Rue des Sables 20, 1000 Brussels
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Opinion

Can Multilateralism Adapt?

Global governance requires rules, because flexibility and goodwill alone cannot tackle the hardest shared problems. With multilateralism under attack, the narrow path ahead is to determine, on a case-by-case basis, the minimum requirements of effective collective action, and to forge agreement on reforms that fulfill these conditions.

By: Jean Pisani-Ferry Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: July 3, 2018
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US tariffs and China's holding of Treasuries

China has the biggest bilateral trade surplus vis-à-vis the US but is also a top holder of US government bonds. While China has started to counteract US trade tariffs, economists have been discussing the case of China acting on its holdings of US Treasuries. We review recent contributions.

By: Silvia Merler Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: July 2, 2018
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Trading invisibles: Exposure of countries to GDPR

This blog post identifies provisions of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that affect foreign companies, and discusses implications for trade in services with the EU. The authors provide a novel mapping of countries’ relative exposure to these regulations by a) measuring the digital maturity of their service exports to the EU; and b) the share of these exports in national GDP.

By: Sonali Chowdhry and Nicolas Moës Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Global Economics & Governance Date: June 28, 2018
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Past Event

Past Event

Trade war trinity: analysis of global consequences

Analysis of the long-term impact of the trade war and its three key players: EU, US, and China.

Speakers: Alicia García-Herrero, Ignasi Guardans and Carl B Hamilton Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: June 28, 2018
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Policy Contribution

Cryptocurrencies and monetary policy

Can cryptocurrencies acquire the role of money? And what are the implications for central banks and monetary policy? Read the policy contribution to understand what challenges cryptocurrencies have to overcome to replace official currencies.

By: Grégory Claeys, Maria Demertzis and Konstantinos Efstathiou Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: June 28, 2018
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China’s strategic investments in Europe: The case of maritime ports

The EU is currently working on a new framework for screening foreign direct investments (FDI). Maritime ports represent the cornerstone of the EU trade infrastructure, as 70% of goods crossing European borders travel by sea. This blog post seeks to inform this debate by looking at recent Chinese involvement in EU ports.

By: Shivali Pandya and Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: June 27, 2018
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