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Repair and Prepare: Strengthening Europe

The Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Jacques Delors Centre join forces to present in-depth analyses and far-sighted ideas for a stronger European economy.

Contact tracing apps in Europe. When one is better than many.

One of the issues brought forth by the COVID-19 crisis is the need to track the infection chains in order to stop the disease from spreading. One of the simplest ways this can be done is via a smartphone app. However, this can bring about several privacy issues. Furthermore, unless a common protocol is taken up all over Europe allowing apps from different member states to be able to seamlessly communicate with each other, the discrepancies would render the national apps ineffective. The member states need to decide on a single app protocol throughout Europe and the European Commission should strongly back its uptake.

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The Corona crisis and the stability of the European banking sector

The Covid-19 crisis put a huge burden on the global economy and could affect the economy more severe than the Great Financial crisis in the end. Governments responded to the shock imposed by Covid-19 by offering liquidity to the real economy, either directly or indirectly by guaranteeing new bank lending. So far European banks have weathered the storm, but will they be able to withstand a prolonged economic downturn? This paper suggests that the fortunes of European banking systems will depend on the economic recovery we will experience. To get insights on the recovery to be expected, we present the latest economic forecasts and contrast the current crisis to the Great Financial Crisis. Afterwards, we present the results of the 2018 EBA adverse stress test and compare the stress test scenario with a plausible “ticked-shaped” recovery post Covid-19. To assess the impact of the crisis on the stability of the banking system, the paper presents illustrative impacts on capital ratios - one of the key benchmarks used to assess the stability of banking systems - in a selected number of EU member states. The paper suggests that capital ratios could drop dramatically in a number of EU member states such as France and Spain well below what supervisors generally consider to be “sound” even under stress conditions. Our illustrative scenario suggests that banking systems in a number of European countries would likely come under extreme stress and would probably fail a rigorous stress test. Finally, we go one step further and give an outlook to what the Covid-19 crisis might mean for the future of the EU's Banking Union and Capital Markets Union.

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How to spend it right

The Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) will be the core of the EU’s new Recovery Instrument to fight the economic fallout of the pandemic. Under the RRF, 310 billion euros in additional EU spending will be allocated by the European Commission to member states based on individual Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs). In this Policy Brief, we argue that the proposed governance to decide on the assessment of RRPs lacks democratic elements as parliaments are largely sidelined. This should be changed to ensure necessary political ownership at national and European level; to include a second pair of European eyes to prevent misspending; and to avoid a roll-back of EU democracy. Therefore, we propose that the European Parliament get a veto over the Commission decision assessing individual RRPs and allocating funds. National parliaments should also have a say in the adoption of the RRP of the respective member state.

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Taxation to the rescue?

The COVID19 – crisis puts a strain on public households in the EU, not only because of necessary rescue packages, but also due to a drop of tax revenues in the face of an economic downward spiral. A European tax reform to support the economic recovery without putting an extra burden on companies is thus in strong need. One solution is to secure corporate taxes that formerly slipped through public budgets due to tax avoidance. In this Policy Brief, Pola Schneemelcher argues that the EU must now focus on the already proposed international minimum tax rate. Member states will not be able to implement it on their own; consensus at international level is necessary, but noncommittal. A legally binding solution can therefore only exist at EU level.

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Repair and Prepare: Strengthening Europe

This project delivers ideas and analyses for a stronger European economy. It covers three areas: We outline a reform agenda for the Eurozone that addresses key economic, political, and legal aspects; we propose improvements to make the European Single Market fit for the future; and we address the prospects for and determinants of sustained growth and prosperity in a Social Europe.

Economic and Monetary Union

We set out ideas on how to make the Eurozone more stable and less prone to crisis. This includes proposals to complete the Banking Union, strengthen economic coordination among member states, and improve the Eurozone’s crisis management capacity.

The European Single Market

We identify an array of traditional and new growth factors for a modern, innovative European Single Market. We analyse how Europe can better facilitate public and private investment, innovation and mobility and suggest policy proposals for how best to equip the Single Market for the digital age. The negotiations on Brexit and the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) serve as critical inputs and will shape Single Market reform over the years ahead.

Social Europe

The legacy of the euro crisis and the challenges posed by demographic, structural and technological change put social issues at the heart of rethinking Europe’s economy. We suggest innovative solutions for addressing economic transformation processes and reducing social divisions in Europe. We also investigate how best to strengthen fair participation in the economy and how best to improve the Europe-wide employment and educational opportunities of EU citizens.

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Heidi Marleen Bräuer

Head of Communications at the Jacques Delors Centre (Maternal leave)

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Christina Claus

Christina Claus

Project Assistant at the Bertelsmann Stiftung

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Prof. Dr. Henrik Enderlein

Prof. Dr. Henrik Enderlein

Director of Jacques Delors Centre, President at Hertie School

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Dr. Katharina Gnath

Senior Project Manager at the Bertelsmann Stiftung

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Lucas Guttenberg

Lucas Guttenberg

Deputy Director at the Jacques Delors Centre

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Natascha Hainbach

Junior Project Manager at the Bertelsmann Stiftung

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Linda Hewitt

Press and public relations officer at the Jacques Delors Centre

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Maarja Kask

Maarja Kask

Policy Fellow at the Jacques Delors centre

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Carolin Köster

Carolin Köster

Administrative Assistant at the Jacques Delors Centre

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Nils Redeker

Nils Redeker

Policy Fellow at the Jacques Delors Centre

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Pola Schneemelcher

Pola Schneemelcher

Affiliate Policy Fellow at the Jacques Delors Centre

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Philipp Schulz

Junior Project Manager at the Bertelsmann Stiftung

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