The European Risks

WEEKLY COMMENT 12-02-2015

By Barry Edwards

The European Risks

The two main events that have the potential to disrupt Europe and possibly the whole world are being discussed by the politicians at this moment. These talks are gradually revealing the likely resolutions but everything is still uncertain and could break down at any time. Although the news headlines are concentrating on the politics of the forthcoming election in the UK, the fighting in Ukraine and the Greek debt problem are far more important since they can really change all our lives dramatically. read more

The Greek Enigma

WEEKLY COMMENT 5-02-2015

By Barry Edwards

The Greek Enigma

The headlines in the financial press and elsewhere have been dominated by Greek state of affairs as their finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, has toured the European capitals to get a feel for the reaction to their plans from his co-members of the EU and more importantly the Eurozone countries. It is reported that he did not get a good response to their ideas for managing the debt or the policies of his party Syriza. Most commentators expected this to be the initial reaction which leaves the situation at a standstill for the time being waiting for something to happen to break the deadlock. read more

A Resolution to the Greek Problem

WEEKLY COMMENT 29-01-2015

By Barry Edwards

A Resolution to the Greek Problem

The result of the Greek election has stimulated the debate about the €240 billion of government debt and the current agreement with the troika, the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB). Alexis Tsipras, the New Greek prime minister, has been elected to reduce the austerity imposed on the country by the troika and has suggested that renegotiating the agreement would be his first priority.

Originally he said that debt forgiveness was his ambition but this seems to have mellowed to rescheduling and a reduction in interest rates. His party, Syriza, have always confirmed their intention to remain in the Eurozone which is the wish of 75% of the country according to opinion polls. The troika have stated that rescheduling is certainly a possibility but forgiveness is not on the table for discussion nor the conditions imposed which are causing the austerity. read more

The European Central Bank Quantitative Easing Announcement

WEEKLY COMMENT 22-01-2015

By Barry Edwards

The European Central Bank Quantitative Easing Announcement

The European Central Bank (ECB) announcement today confirmed their intention to start a quantitative easing (QE) programme beginning in March 2015 as expected. It is a lot more convincing than many commentators expected despite all the talk of strong German resistance to the plan.  If you click on the link below you can read the full report, it has two pages;

https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/pr/date/2015/html/pr150122_1.en.html read more

The Swiss National Bank Policy Change

WEEKLY COMMENT 15-01-2015

By Barry Edwards

The Swiss National Bank Policy Change  

The news this week has been dominated by the Charlie Hebdo event and kept the change of policy by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) out of the main headlines. The same applies to the preliminary decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that the European Central Bank (ECB) would not contravene the rules if it decides to start quantitative easing and buy European government bonds. The two announcements are interlinked and will have major implications for the economies of many European countries. read more

EU Growth and Structural Reform

WEEKLY COMMENT 8-01-2015

By Barry Edwards

EU Growth and Structural Reform 

Over the Christmas and New Year break and I caught up with some reports that I had saved to look at during the period and thought two of them were worth bringing to your attention.

The two reports recently released are from the Petersen Institute for International Economics (PIIE) and the Centre for European Reform (CER) about recommendations for improving the growth potential of the EU. They both make suggestions for policy changes by the EU Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) which they believe would have a major effect on the future of the EU. The Petersen report is very comprehensive and in my view well written and easy to read, it has 42 pages while the CER paper is a summary of a conference held in October and is 10 pages long. Click on the links below to read or download the reports. read more