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Focus spring 2012

We present and discuss current research and economic policy related topics in International Economics. This quarter about:

Austerity measures and Growth in Europe

In the debatte about higher growth the EU Commission is warning against renouncing austerity policies in Europe.  Greece as well as the other two member states which depend on rescue loans, Portugal and Ireland, must stick to their austerity and reform policies.

undefinedFAZ (German)

In the midst of the debt crisis voters in France and Greece vote against austerity. What are the implications of this Sunday's elections for Europe's anti-crisis policies?

undefinedFAZ (German)

Paul Krugman puts forward criticises again the austerity dominated economic policy to fight the debt crisis in the euro area.

undefinedNew York Times

In an interview IMF chief economist urges for for euro bonds and a permanent reduction of the trend in government expenditure instead of large singular cuts.

undefinedFinancial Times Deutschland (German)

Spain's austerity measure is pushing the country into recession. The risk of contagion for the euro area is back. Meanwhile economists are demanding a change in policy to combat the crisis in Europe. 

undefinedFinancial Times Deutschland (German)

German Chanellor Angela Merkel will present a European 'growth agenda' at the EU summit in June. While Brussels supports the initiative, François Hollande regards it as a response to his warnings against a too strict austerity measures. 

EurActiv (German)

Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson argue that lobbying by financial institutions has caused a deepening of the recession in the euro area and that political leaders should finally stop listening to bankers. 

undefinedFinancial Times Deutschland (German)

In this column Barry Eichengreen argues that euro crisis offers Europe an opportunity to reestablish trust which is at the heart of Europe's fiscal, economic, and institutional deficits.


Last year thirteen eurozone countries surpassed the deficit to gross domestic product ratio of three per cent.

Another week, another euro "solution". According to last week's plan, by 2020 the ratio of Greek national debt to GDP will be down to 120.5pc.

undefinedThe Telegraph

One of the most important stories of the European debt crisis is the worse-than-expected damage that austerity has inflicted on the Greek economy.

undefinedThe Wall Street Journal

Greek party leaders have accepted the austerity dictate from Europe; however European finance ministers are not satisfied: The second aid package will only be released after all details are set.

undefinedSpiegel Online (German)

Almost everyone agrees that the fiscal accounts of several advanced economies are in a pretty bad shape and need to be strengthened. But how rapid should the adjustment be in the present circumstances?


Regionalism and bilateral free trade agreements

Argentina’s move to nationalize a 51% stake in the country’s YPF oil company from Spain’s Repsol this week may hamper efforts to finalize free-trade talks between the European Union and the Mercosur trade bloc later this year.

The EU has been busy concluding free trade agreements - above all with emerging economies which are in a weaker position than the EU. 

undefinedNZZ (German)

EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht asks US die dismantle trade barriers and critizises that the US market is walled off for European companies. An early bilateral free trade agreement is unlikely.

undefinedFinancial Times Deutschland (German)

Tired of seeing European companies blocked from Chinese public tenders, the European Commission is preparing plans later this month that will allow individual EU countries to bar foreign bids from countries that refuse to open up their public procurement markets, EurActiv can reveal.

A year after the start of the Arab spring, no government in the Middle East has attempted serious economic reform even though it is obvious both that economies are distorted and that discontent over living standards has played a big part in the uprisings.

undefinedThe Economist

Mr. Sikorski, foreign minister of Poland is not optimistic with regards to a soon implementation of the Association and Free trade Agreement between EU and Ukraine.

undefinedNZZ Online (German)

As tariffs have declined steadily since the 1940s, government interventions to restrict imports have increasingly taken non-tariff forms.

After four years of negotiations, campaigners fear India is about to sign a trade deal with the EU which will stop the flow of cheap life-saving drugs to the developing world.

undefinedThe Guardian