EU Economic Governance Reform: Are We at A Turning Point?
The sovereign debt crisis is creating enormous anguish in the European Monetary Union (EMU). Not surprisingly, emergency measures continue to be used at a time when a sort of economic recovery seems to be underway. Against this background the European Council summit of last October considered a Task Force report with a telling name: “Strengthening economic governance in the EU”. This document is to be examined in conjunction with the governance reform proposals issued by the European Commission at the end of September and related documents. For the depth of this financial crisis and the “Great Recession” have forced EU governments and EU institutions to take a hard look at the governance structure of the Union. But it would be wrong to say that this demarche is an attempt to explore a terra incognita. From the very beginning of the European Monetary Union (EMU) there was some discomfort with its institutional underpinnings and there were misgivings regarding its optimality as a currency area. This explains why a train of thought underlines a political rationale, too, for the creation of the EMU. Likewise, criticism regarding the way regulation and supervision have been established in the Union is not of recent vintage. And insufficiencies of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), with almost all member states flouting its rules at various points in time, have been repeatedly pointed out. This said, however, the flaws of financial intermediation have been less tackled by policy-makers and central bankers for reasons which, partially, are to be found in a paradigm which has dominated economic thinking in recent decades. This paper focuses on roots of the huge strain in the EU (EMU) and main policy issues ensuing from the current crisis. It also looks at the stake NMSs have in a reformed EU economic governance structure. The challenges for EU economic governance reform are to be seen from a broad perspective: the crisis of the financial intermediation system; the sub-optimal character of the EMU; institutional and policy underpinnings of the EU (EMU) including the regulation and supervision of financial markets; the capacity of the EU to deal with global imbalances, etc. Nota bene: there is a “political reality” which constrains decisions in the EU; the latter is not a federal state and what appears to be rational when defined strictly economically may clash with implications of the political configuration of the Union.
Keywords: economic crisis, economic governance, EMU
Deposit Guarantee Schemes Join Financial Safety-Net
Deposit Guarantee Schemes (DGS) become more visible under the current conditions of the world financial markets. If those have played in the past a rather discreet role for social stability through the function of pay box following a bank failure, the recent crisis put them in a new light, once the guarantee ceiling for eligible deposits grew in order to make for the accumulation of wealth worldwide and the increased risk incurred by the leverage of banking operations. Consequently, the resources accumulated by the DGS from the member banks and their proper management make possible their involvement in pre-emptive actions aimed to avoid bankruptcies via special administration and purchase of assets and assumption of liabilities. These new attributes give DGS a role in the mechanism of financial safety-net, along the supervisors of the market. Hence, an increased preoccupation for applied corporate governance has developed and Core Principles for Effective Deposit Insurance Systems have been adopted by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision together with International Association of Deposit Insurers. Concurrently, the EU Commission has put forward a process for reviewing the Directives 94/39 and 09/14 EC, in order to make the European DGS more prepared to deal with above mentioned issues and bestow increased confidence upon depositors.
Keywords: banking system, deposit guarantee scheme, deposits, risks, surveillance
Economic Integration and Statist Reach – Towards a Holistic Assesment
This paper assesses the relationship between public governance and economic competitiveness in a globalized world. The extent of statist reach is often seen as being reduced by the integrated world economy. The present article argues that this is not necessarily so: economic development is not mutually exclusive with good governance. Although international economic actors often tend to use the ‘exit’ strategy, by choosing those markets that are least regulated, as the globalization process homogenizes further on the world markets, inter-state synchronization of environmental, labour or fiscal regulation must be achieved. As this article argues, such accountability mechanisms will not thwart economic prosperity, but rather secure its further development in a predictable and secure environment for both citizens and firms.
Keywords: accountability, economic development, globalization, markets, statist power
The Social Dimension of Internet Diffusion in Romania: Examining the Connection between Internet Uses and Frequencies
Geomina Turlea, Esteve Ollé Sanz, Constantin Ciupagea
The paper looks at a representative sample of Romanian Internet users, intending to differentiate between factors that are influencing the frequency of use. It describes the statistical setting of occasional users versus the group of regular Internet users that currently represent the main policy focus of the European Commission, synthesizing and analysing some of the findings. The authors then propose a general access equation looking at a large number of usual access factors. A logistic model is tested for similar sets of factors allowing comparison between impacts on the two mentioned groups of internet users. We found that the education level and the location of household may act as proxies for use mode selection and for communication intensity. However, factors not taken into account in these equations seem to be responsible for much more of the difference between the behaviours of the two groups of users, rather than usual access factors. These factors are related to motivations and the last and newest part of the paper is dedicated to the finding of the differentiated impact of utilitarian versus social motivations on the frequency of use. Our analysis, based on a descriptive type of model, reveals the important role that different types of uses play in the transition from occasional to intensive use, and that the main statistically significant differences between intensive and occasional users come from social motivations, out of which the uploading self-created content seems to be the most relevant. Policy makers could focus on the fusion of utilitarian and social motivations as a phenomenal driver of Internet diffusion, using the mix as a catalyser to bridge the important divides in both use and access that still reign in the Romanian information society.
Keywords: access model, e-inclusion, Internet uses, Romania, utilitarian and social motivations
An Extended Approach to E-Inclusion and its Implications for Romania
Depending on the existing social patterns and trends, development of information society creates new opportunities and risks and restructures the established areas of public policy. For example, e-inclusion becomes more and more today’s predominant form of social inclusion. Despite the diversity of approaches developed, its intrinsic multi-dimension nature and the challenges posed by the continuous evolution of global digital technologies and networks make e-inclusion a problematic scientific and political concept. This article proposes an extended approach to e-inclusion, seen as the cumulative result of three interlocking contributors – i) global evolution of digital technologies and networks, ii) the levels of ICT access, usage and skills and iii) the existing social structures – and examine its policy implications for Romania. An important conclusion arises from this exploration: Romania is poorly prepared to cope with e-inclusion challenges. The country’s relatively incipient stage of information society development and its serious social problems and the emergence of new forms of digital divide demand a holistic policy response capable of coherently capturing and tackling all factors of e-inclusion, beyond the conventional fragmentation of public policy areas. Without it, social inclusion process will be hindered and Romania will not fully reap the social and economic benefits of information society.
Keywords: e-inclusion, ICT adoption and diffusion, Information society, Romania, social inclusion
The Bologna Process: the Reform of the European Higher Education Systems
The structural reform becomes the most visible initiative of the Bologna process. However, today the reform serves as an umbrella for comprehensive reform processes in national systems of higher education. In Central and Eastern European countries the Bologna process is not only strongly connected to the overall political transformation, but provides for the higher education policy makers an opportunity for the Europeanization of the sector. The implementation of the three-cycle system (the reform of organizational dimensions) creates a demand for other reforms, and under this agenda have been released a numerous fundamental questions and debates on higher education systems. In a narrow concept, the Bologna process at the present implies systemic (e.g. core functions and role of different higher education institutions, the future of university and non-university sector), programmatic (e.g. at different program levels different curricular emphasis, arrangements and functions; vocationalization of the academic curriculum), procedural (e.g. new modes and arrangements of teaching) changes, and shift from accent on horizontal to vertical differences (e.g. the set up of stratified and hierarchical national systems based on reputation and prestige, especially in research quality), and from input to output oriented higher education. In a broad sense, and on the basis of national implementation experiences, we can also conceptualize the Bologna process as governance or recently finance reform. As the concepts behind these reform initiatives suggests, the original objectives of the Bologna process is reinterpreted and overwrote, by the Lisbon Strategy and several national higher educational policy objectives.
Keywords: Bologna Process, education policy, higher education reform
Establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal in the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY): Dealing with the “War Raging at the Heart of Europe”
Much has been written on the question of disintegration of the former Yugoslavia and the conflict that followed . A lot of scholarly attention was devoted to the analysis of the reasons of the Yugoslav war, political, military, psychological and other aspects of the conflict and ways of conflict resolution. International community responses to the conflict have also been much discussed . Post-conflict reconstruction, relations of the Balkan states with the EU, compliance with the EU accession criteria have been extensively covered as well . Less attention, however, was given to the process of creation of the International Criminal Tribunal in the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), an institution established to try individuals responsible for international crimes committed during the conflict, cooperation with which is currently one of the most important EU accession criteria for the Balkan states. The ICTY was primarily discussed by legal scholars, who attempted to analyze the impact the Tribunal made on the development of international criminal justice . This article attempts to show how historical analogies were used in the process of creating the ICTY. The rhetoric of “war raging at the heart of Europe”, threatening to undermine developments in the “new Europe” was frequently employed by politicians in the discussions leading to the creation of the Tribunal.
Keywords: historical analogies, international criminal justice , International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
Book Review: Jack D. Eller, From Culture, to Ethnicity, to Conflict: An Anthropological Perspective on International Ethnic Conflicts
From Culture, to Ethnicity, to Conflict: An Anthropological Perspective on International Ethnic Conflicts, Eller illustrates that the characteristics used to define ethnicity cannot be freely applied to all groups since group perception of what their ethnicity encompasses vary significantly. Further, Eller points out that once a group becomes self-conscious of their difference within society, this realization leads to the initiation of group mobilization, from this viewpoint a group is then considered a nationalistic group as opposed to a mere ethnic group within society. This was evident in Sir Lanka when both the Sinhalese and the Tamils were aware of their differences and had established their own nationalistic group, wherein each nationalistic group seeks to control the island. Taken as a whole, Eller’s From Culture, to Ethnicity, to Conflict: An Anthropological Perspective on International Ethnic Conflicts, offers an insightful and extensive understanding of ethnicity and conflict, by arguing that ethnicity and conflict have developed out of modern social condition and circumstances, as opposed to primordial dynamics. The move away from primordial understanding sheds light into why once dormant groups become politically active as in the cases presented by Eller.
Keywords: conflict, ethnicity, nationalistic group