Pubaffairs news & debates

Can Europe’s finance sector resist COVID-19?, European Capital Market Institute (ECMI)

On the 20th of February, the European Capital Market Institute (ECMI) published  a commentary  by Karel Lanoo, General Manager of ECMI and CEO of Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS), named “Can Europe’s finance sector resist COVID-19?”  which acknowledged that Europe is back in crisis mood.

Indeed, the commentary premised that “in a matter of only three weeks, Europe has turned from boom to bust for markets and businesses. Von der Leyen’s positive and strategic agenda has again been overtaken by the need to respond to the urgency of the moment and to try to keep the EU together”.

The author firstly stated that the upside of the current situation is that prudential and market conduct rules have been harmonised and the soundness of banks can be compared instantly, while the downsize consist of the fact that the banking sector and the capital market union initiative have still unfinished business. 

The author also remarked that “in these crucial days for Europe and financial markets, it is of utmost importance that the mistakes of the previous crisis are not repeated”.

Please follow this link to download the commentary

[FR] RÉSUMÉ | Débat | Le Sahel: état des lieux sécuritaire, enjeux et défis pour l’Union européenne

En novembre 2019, PubAffairs Bruxelles et la Représentation permanente de l’ Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) auprès de l’Union européenne ont organisé un débat pour faire un état des lieux sécuritaire et discuter des enjeux et défis pour l’Union européenne dans la région du Sahel. Participaient à la rencontre SEM Abdellahi Kebd, Ambassadeur, Mission de la Mauritanie auprès de l’UE, M. Pierre-Yves Boissy, Gestionnaire des politiques, Coordinateur pour la stratégie et le Fonds fiduciaire pour le Sahel, Service européen pour l’action extérieure (SEAE), M. Marc Stalmans, Chef de secteur – Sahel, Chargé d’aide et de coopération internationales, Commission européenne, DG DEVCO, M. Jeremy Lester, Président du Conseil d’Administration de Saferworld.

M. Stéphane Lopez, Ambassadeur, Représentant de l’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie auprès de l’UE. Le débat était modéré par M. Philippe Darmuzey, Directeur Honoraire, Commission européenne.

Le débat était modéré par M. Philippe Darmuzey, Directeur Honoraire, Commission européenne.

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Policy Insight | Overcoming the gridlock in EMU decision-making – CEPS

The completion of EMU, and banking union as its critical component, requires that certain taboos in the policy debate are brought out in the open.

First, the Commission must stop pretending that Italian public debt is sustainable under current policies and shift from politically motivated forbearance to serious implementation of the SGP and notably its debt rule. Second, it is necessary to acknowledge that crisis management by the ESM is crippled as long as its financial assistance can only be granted after the country in need is close to losing market access and, in addition, this threatens the financial stability of the entire euro area. The already-existing alternative to assist a country that is not respecting the SGP is to utilise the enhanced conditional credit line (ECCL) introduced by the ESM reform, approved by the European Council and awaiting national ratifications, in order to agree on a full-fledged adjustment programme before any euro area member (Italy) comes to the brink again – without any preventive conditions on the sustainability of public debt. And, third, the completion of the banking union requires a reduction of banks’ home sovereign portfolios, that can be incentivised by the introduction of mild concentration charges. However, the system will not work without simultaneously offering the banks and financial investors in general a true European safe asset, fully guaranteed by its member states. Our proposal is that such a safe asset could be offered by the ESM, which would purchase in exchange the sovereigns held by the ESCB as a result of the quantitative easing asset purchase programme. The risk of losses on these sovereigns would continue to lie with the national central banks, thus avoiding the transfer of new risks to the ESM.

Download the publication here

About the Authors

Stefano Micossi is the director general of Assonime, the chairman of the Scientific Council of the LUISS-School of European Political Economy (LUISS-SEP) and a member of the CEPS Board of Directors. Fabrizia Pierce is senior economist at Assonime.

Research Paper | Beyond Frozen Conflict: Scenarios for the separatist disputes of Eastern Europe – CEPS

The five unresolved separatist conflicts of the post-Soviet space in Eastern Europe are the biggest risk to Europe’s stability and security. Four of these – Abkhazia, South Ossetia in Georgia, Transnistria in Moldova, and Nagorny Karabakh contested between Armenia and Azerbaijan – date back to around the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991-2, and became called ‘frozen conflicts’. 

The fifth is Ukraine’s Donbas, which in 2014 saw large parts of its Donetsk and Luhansk regions violently separate from Kyiv at a cost of 13,000 human lives so far, due crucially to Russia’s supporting hybrid warfare there. 

This book is the first to give an up-to-date account of all five conflicts in an analytically consistent manner. It charts new territory in exploring systematically a full range of scenarios for the possible future of all five conflicts and offers a basis of sound information for officials, diplomats, scholars and the general public. 

Download the publication here

Thomas de Waal is a writer, analyst and Senior Fellow at Carnegie Europe, specialising in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus. 

Nikolaus von Twickel is an analyst for conflicts related to Russia and a public relations manager at the Center for Liberal Modernity in Berlin.

Book Reviews

“A compelling and comprehensive account of the fluid conflicts and frozen peace processes in Eastern Europe. A must read for all those who wish to understand the region.”
Natalie Tocci, Director, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Rome 

“The indispensable source for information and analysis on the conflicts and separatist entities on the post-Soviet periphery. Whether you are a seasoned expert or unfamiliar with the region, for both historical understanding and policy insight, this is a must read.”
William Hill, Global Fellow, Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars 

“This thorough and excellent study traces the development of the conflicts in order to make predictions for their further course together with policy recommendations for the European Union.”
Peter Semneby, Former EU Special Representative for South Caucasus 

This book invites the reader to embrace the complexity of the conflicts in the post-Soviet space and disentangle geopolitical manoeuvers from collective grievances.”
Natalia Mirimanova, Founder and Director of the Eurasia Peace Initiative

“An honest, brave, comprehensive and timely analysis of the possible ways of mitigation of the geopolitical risks connected with five post-Soviet ‘frozen’ conflicts. As a Ukranian I completely support their conclusions.”
E. Oleksandr Chalyi, former First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

This book has been part of a project on the EU’s Association Agreements with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine supported by Sweden through the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).

[FR] RÉSUMÉ | Débat |Dans quelle mesure pouvons-nous parler d’un « mode de vie européen» et s’il existe quel est-il?

En novembre 2019, PubAffairs Bruxelles et la Représentation permanente de l’ Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) auprès de l’Union européenne ont organisé un débat sur la question de l’existence d’un « mode de vie européen » avec M. László Trócsányi, Député européen (PPE/HU), M. Jean Leclercq, Professeur de Philosophie à l’UCL Louvain, M. Andrea Rea, Professeur de Sociologie à l’ULB, M. Domenico Rossetti di Valdalbero, Secrétaire général de l’Union des Fédéralistes Européens (UEF.be) et M. Aymeric De Lamotte, avocat et conseiller communal.

M. Stéphane Lopez, Ambassadeur, Représentant de l’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie auprès de l’UE, a tenu un discours d’introduction.

Le débat était modéré par M. Renaud Denuit, écrivain et éditorialiste pour le média Agence Europe.

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Research Paper | Deliberative Democracy in the EU: Countering Populism with Participation and Debate, Centre for European Policy Studies – CEPS

Old certainties about the inevitability of democratic progress are as much under threat from illiberal populists in established democracies as from brittle coalition governments that try and hold the centre. While representative democracy remains the best available form of government, and the one preferred by most EU citizens, satisfaction with how it plays out varies greatly across the continent. Among the perceived weaknesses are high levels of political corruption, low resilience to disinformation, and out-of-touch governing elites.

Yet there is some hope that direct channels for citizens to express their concerns and preferences,  fact-based deliberation in representative bodies and robust mechanisms to hold governments to account can help save European democracy from the onslaught of populism.

This volume draws together the Towards a Citizens’ Union project proposals into a framework reflecting the four cumulative criteria used by modern political theorists to assess the health of a democracy: inclusion, choice, deliberation and impact. Its expert contributors offer pragmatic ideas to strengthen representative democracy at both the national and EU level.

Deliberative Democracy in the EU: Countering Populism with Participation and Debate is part of the Towards a Citizens’ Union (2CU) project co-funded by the EU’s Erasmus+ Programme. It is the product of collaboration with 20 renowned think tanks from the European Policy Institutes Network (EPIN). This third and final volume follows the first two in the series, Direct Democracy in the EU: The Myth of a Citizens’ Union, and Representative Democracy in the EU: Recovering Legitimacy.

 

 

Edited by Steven Blockmans, Director ad interim at CEPS and Professor of EU External Relations Law and Governance at the University of Amsterdam, and Sophia Russack, Researcher at CEPS’ Institutions unit.

[FR] RÉSUMÉ | Débat | Nouvelles initiatives de l’UE en matière de sécurité et de défense : quelles perspectives pour l’avenir ?

Le 15 Octobre 2019, PubAffairs Bruxelles et la Représentation permanente de l’Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) auprès de l’Union européenne ont organisé un débat sur l’avenir des nouvelles initiatives de l’UE en matière de sécurité et défense avec SEM François Cornet d’Elzius, Ambassadeur, Représentant Permanent belge auprès du COPS, M. Arnaud Migoux, Chef de secteur, Sécurité et Défense, Service européen pour l’action extérieure (SEAE/EEAS), M. Mihnea Motoc, Chef adjoint, Centre européen de stratégie politique (CESP/EPSC), et M. Federico Santopinto, Chargé de recherche, Groupe de Recherche et d’information sur la Paix et la Sécurité (GRIP). M. Stéphane Lopez, Ambassadeur, Représentant de l’OIF auprès de l’UE, a tenu un discours d’introduction.

Le débat était modéré par Chris Burns, journaliste, Burnstorm Communications.

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Evening discussion at the European Parliament | How to make Europe’s energy transition a reality with the help of smart technologies

A complex European financial architecture – 10 years on, European Capital Market Institute (ECMI)

On the 27th of February, the European Capital Market Institute (ECMI) published  a report by Karel Lanoo, General Manager of ECMI and CEO of Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS), named  “A complex European financial architecture – 10 years on” which confirmed the importance of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESA) and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), established 10 years ago.

The report explains that the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) was given new competencies, however limited to the objective of creating a Capital Markets Union.

The analysis also led the author to state that “a specific European supervisory architecture is emerging, but post-crisis it is advancing more on an ad hoc basis than as a result of deliberate choices”.

Indeed, in the preamble the author states that “apart from the Single Supervisory Mechanism, EU member states prefer the cooperation rather than integration mode for their financial markets”.

Please follow this link to download the report

 

How to make Europe’s Energy Transition a Reality with the Help of Smart Technologies – Press Release

On the 19th of February, ESMIG held an evening of discussion at the European Parliament Members’ Salon exploring how to make Europe’s energy transition a reality with the help of smart technologies.

Ms Maria Carvalho MEP (EPP/PT), Mr Ville Niinistö MEP (Greens/FI) and Ms Claudia Gamon MEP (Renew/AT) co-hosted the event which gathered a cross-national and cross-party group of MEPs, policy experts and ESMIG members engaged in the energy transition towards a digitalised, decentralised, consumer focused energy system integrating renewables.

The evening featured keynote speeches from Mr Thor-Sten Vertmann, Member of the Cabinet of Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, Mr Zeljko Krevzelj, on behalf of the Croatian Presidency of the EU and Mr Mark Van Stiphout from DG ENER (European Commission).

Maria Carvalho MEP introduced and emphasised the stakes, challenges and opportunities related to both the ongoing energy transition and the digital transformation while also highlighting how the Clean Energy Package opens up the possibility for EU member states to create the best conditions to empower citizens to become both producers and consumers, namely “prosumers”. In relation, Claudia Gamon MEP pointed out that the EU energy transition will have to manage an increasing demand which needs to be coupled with the fostering of renewable and decentralised energy sources. The data availability for prosumers will facilitate not only their assessment of consumption and production, but also foster their energy storage potentials.

During his keynote speech, Mr Thor-Sten Vertmann explained the potential and the challenges related to the creation of EU rules on the use of data, while remarking that energy efficiency-related policies will also need to be further fine-tuned. Subsequently, Mr Zeljko Krevzelj asserted that in the chapter of the Presidency programme “A Europe that connects”, the Croatian Presidency aimed at ensuring a more connected, efficient and secure EU energy market, while continuing to foster renewables and low carbon energy sources. Mr Mark Van Stiphout focused his intervention on the Clean Energy Package, which, in his opinion, demonstrates necessity of smart meters in implementing a more efficient energy system. He further stated that access to metering data and information, as well as the right to a dynamic price, will be also of crucial importance for the development of the energy system that is increasingly decentralised and end-user friendly. In relation to this, Willem Strabbing, Managing Director of ESMIG, informed participants that according to ESMIG’s research, consumers can save 7-9% on gas and electricity consumption based on real-time insight. Although the roll-out of smart meters that can provide real-time data is progressing, the offering of tools and services based on this real-time data is substantially lagging.

Following a lively discussion between participants, in his concluding remarks, Ville Niinistö stated that both regulators and operators have taken a long time to realise that the energy system has been shifting towards new paradigms. He remarked that Europe needs to build a regulatory environment which fosters price information and can guarantee standardised data access to citizens. Mr Dieter Brunner, ESMIG President, closed the discussion by recalling the importance of cooperation between the industry and regulators for the benefit of EU. To this end, Mr Brunner stated that ESMIG and its members will continue to foster the dialogue between industry, policy-makers and citizens at the EU, national and local level.

 Download the ESMIG Manifesto for more information about the smart energy transition

A picture selection of the event is available here