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Bruegel Think Thank

Economic Crisis in the Middle East and North Africa

In the 2010s, the economic outlook of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa region deteriorated, with numerous long-term socio-economic and institutional challenges still unresolved. COVID-19 has compounded the problems. As the region's largest external trading partner, the European Union should do more to support economic and political transformation. The authors thank Maria Demertzis and Nicolas Véron for their comments. In the 2010s, the economic situation in the Middle East...

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Where did the vaccine strategy go wrong?

“We have to open our mind, we have to look internationally. Because if we don’t, COVID-19 is going to stay with us.” One year since the pandemic began, widespread vaccination has finally started. It would be a mistake however to say the end is in sight. Senior fellows Uri Dadush and J. Scott Marcus join Bruegel director Guntram Wolff to talk COVID-19 vaccine strategy, from testing and production to procurement and inoculation. Relevant publications: Dadush, U. (2021) ‘A matter of...

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A green industrial policy for Europe

A ‘green industrial policy’ able to promote economic growth, job creation and environmental goals altogether will be fundamental to Europe’s climate change ambitions. The European Green Deal aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. This is not going to be an easy journey. To be successful, the European Green Deal will have to foster major shifts in the European industrial structure, including transitions from fossil fuels to renewable energy and from combustion engine...

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Green transformation: a Polish perspective

A conversation on green recovery with the Polish Minister of Climate and Environment, Michał Kurtyka Poland is sometimes characterised as the black sheep of EU climate policy: in 2019, more than 70 percent of the country’s electricity was generated by coal. In the meantime, it is closing down coal mines and discussing building a nuclear power plant in order to diversify its energy supplies. What is Poland’s climate policy and how is it evolving? Is the idea of Poland’s characterisation as a...

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A matter of life and death: governments must speed up vaccination

COVID-19 vaccination in Europe and the United States is moving too slowly and is failing to prevent avoidable death and economic disruption. More must be done to accelerate the campaign by targeting those most at risk. Getting vaccines into the arms of the right people, those most at risk of dying from the disease, could radically reduce the death rate from COVID-19 within months. It would also normalise the situation in hospitals, trigger a swifter economic recovery than is widely...

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The double irony of the new UK-EU trade relationship

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement signed between the European Union and the United Kingdom goes against six decades of UK efforts to avoid being economically disadvantaged in Europe. Tracking the evolution of the EU-UK relationship over the last 60 years can help in understanding this. By: André Sapir Date: January 12, 2021 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance On 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom left both the European customs union and the single market. Its trade...

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Corporate insolvencies during COVID-19: keeping calm before the storm

Measures in major economies have protected companies from COVID-19 related insolvency, but have also protected weak firms. Nevertheless, support should remain as long as necessary, while cumbersome insolvency processes should be reformed for the long term. Historically, economic downturns are associated with increases in business insolvencies. Figure 1 shows that during the Great Financial Crisis, insolvencies increased, but in the current, deeper recession, such an increase has not (yet)...

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The productivity paradox: policy lessons from MICROPROD

The objective of MICROPROD, an EU-wide research project that runs until the end of 2021, is to understand what is driving the current productivity slowdown and what the potential consequences are for Europe's economic model and its citizens’ welfare. This Policy Contribution summarises the main, policy-relevant conclusions of the 20 MICROPROD papers delivered so far. This Policy Contribution is an output from the MICROPROD project, which received funding from the European Union’s Horizon...

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Has the European Union squandered its coronavirus vaccination opportunity?

The European Union’s purchases of frontrunner coronavirus vaccines are insufficient for the population’s near-term needs. The shortfall could have healthcare consequences and might delay economic reopening. Lessons should be learned for future pandemics. Worldwide progress on the development on safe, effective vaccines against the coronavirus has been impressively fast. Three vaccines have been approved in the EU, the United Kingdom or the United States (Table 1). Given the lack of effective...

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When the future changes the past: fiscal indicator revisions

The 2020 pandemic economic shock has led to reassessment of fiscal policy measures in 2018 and earlier, because of faulty measurement of unobserved output gaps and structural balances. The current period of suspension of EU fiscal rules should be used to design a better fiscal framework. By: Zsolt Darvas Date: January 5, 2021 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic distress caught everyone by surprise. In late 2019,...

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