Category: Blog

The European response to the epidemic

Germany shut down its borders with France, Denmark, Austria and Luxembourg in an effort to curb the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic at home. Spain and other European Union countries are doing the same. The closure of the Schengen border raises more barriers to individual movements within the EU.  Closing the borders is an impulsive response to the crisis. It is perhaps understandable in an emergency, when national governments are responsible for protecting the population, in the absence of a common health policy in Europe. But it promotes an inward-looking attitude that does not facilitate the coordination of actions...

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Competitiveness Imbalances in the Eurozone

ERMEES Note, 25/01/14 Thomas Coudert (BETA-CNRS, University of Strasbourg) and Jamel Saadaoui (BETA-CNRS, University of Strasbourg) With the incoming European elections in May 2014, several political parties propose that southern European countries (France included) leave the monetary union in order to devalue their national currencies in order to restore their competitiveness. Before I go forward, I will make two remarks to be clearer. Firstly, competitiveness in a broad sense includes price competitiveness and non-price competitiveness. The first concept concerns the price of products traded with the rest of the world and the second concept corresponds to the quality of products traded with foreign partners. Devaluation allows increasing price competitiveness to some extent as traded good would be cheaper relatively to competitors. Secondly, competitiveness is always a relative concept. A country, a firm, a football team is always competitive relatively to its partners or competitors. Come back to the benefits that will induce this increase of competitiveness in southern countries. These competitiveness gains (relatively to the rest of the Eurozone) would permit to reignite growth through the export sector. In fine, renewed growth in southern countries would allow to reduce stratospheric unemployment rates observed since the onset of the Euro crisis in 2010. In this post, I propose to explore different paths through which the Eurozone could reduce competitiveness imbalances. Specifically, I want to highlight that currency devaluation (after an...

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