Global Business & Economics Program

  • Romania, Bulgaria Face EU Music on Anti-Corruption Reforms: View from Europe

    While Romania and Bulgaria both joined the EU in 2007, it is clear the two new members still have a long way to go to satisfy standards set by the European Commission for anti-corruption reforms.

    An EU Commission document released earlier this week updated the status of Romanian and Bulgarian efforts in combating rampant fraud, corruption, and organized crime present in their countries. The report holds some stern words for Romania, saying its performance reveals “important shortcomings.” Specifically, “Romania did not show sufficient political commitment to support and provide direction to the reform process, and demonstrated a degree of unwillingness within the leadership of the judiciary to cooperate and take responsibility.”

    The Commission criticizes Romania primarily for

    ...

    Read More
  • Critical Test for European Security

    This week brings a critical test for the transatlantic security partnership. The European Parliament will vote on a revised agreement with the United States on tracking terrorist finances using financial data unique to the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT). The vote is about more than restoring data-sharing. It is about whether Europe will remain a strong partner in protecting the transatlantic community.

    The vote comes five months after the European Parliament blocked U.S. access to the data, which had been shared as part of the Terrorist Financing Tracking Program (TFTP). Established shortly after September 11, 2001, TFTP was developed in cooperation with SWIFT and in accordance with long-established U.S. law to uncover terrorist money flows and disrupt plots.

    Money trails don’t lie. SWIFT’s financial data has helped uncover terrorist networks and plots around the world. Its successes

    ...

    Read More
  • Global Economic Impact of Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Bill

    Alexei Monsarrat, director of the Atlantic Council's Global Business & Economics program, interviewed Tom Joyce, debt capital markets strategist for Deutsche Bank, on the impact of the Dodd-Frank bill on the finance industry and global markets. A transcript of their discussion follows.

    ALEXEI MONSARRAT:  Thanks very much, Tom, for taking part in our 5 Questions series to provide your thoughts on the Dodd-Frank bill.  There has been a huge amount of dissecting of this legislation and the process to develop it.  Now that we seem to have something tangible I’d like to get your sense of what we really have here, how it will affect the industry, and how this will affect the regulatory discussions in other G20 countries, especially in Europe.

    The first question is: now that something has come out of the conference committee, what are we really looking at?  How does the bill stack up to what the banking

    ...

    Read More
  • Significance of U.S. Treasury's Iran Sanctions

    The U.S. Treasury Department recently announced targeted financial sanctions on a long list of Iranian companies, people, and entities. Some of the designations specifically target Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, while others target its energy sector.  Still others target the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a brutal group of regime loyalists who crush democratic dissidents and foment terrorism abroad.

    Over the last decade, U.S. sanctions have evolved. Treasury has zeroed in on specific nodes of concern within Iran, seeking to isolate and weaken them without hammering the whole population. These “smart sanctions” are designed to impact Iran-sponsored terrorist groups, as well as the Iranian nuclear program and the financial institutions that enable the regime.

    The results have been modest, but impressive. Treasury has named and shamed many people and entities involved in Iran’s nuclear program and

    ...

    Read More
  • America's Uncertain Trumpet

    No better proof of a dysfunctional -- and broke -- system of government than the U.S. Congress passing additional funding for the Afghan war -- $300 billion thus far -- while simultaneously denying the unemployed an extension of benefits -- and then taking a 10-day Independence Day vacation.

    With the jobless hovering just less than 10 percent of a 158 million-strong U.S. labor force, including 1.3 million who didn't get their benefits reinstated and an additional 200,000 a week who have been without a job for at least six months and stand to lose their benefits each week until Congress acts, some 15 million Americans are out of work.

    One million Americans dropped out of the job market over the past two months as they gave up a fruitless search for work. They lack the skills needed for a high-tech economy. And companies have slashed payrolls as automation helps them get along with fewer employees. The ranks of the unemployed who no longer receive any

    ...

    Read More
  • Will the Greece Rescue Program Rescue Greece?

    With the Greek rescue program, Europe, with a large dollop of help from the IMF, bought a reprieve from a full-blown market stampede. Yet, unusually for this stage of an IMF arrangement, markets remain deeply skeptical about its chances of success.

    Greece is largely a plain vanilla fiscal crisis, more reminiscent of emerging market crises of the 1970s and 1980s than more recent crises such as the 1997 Asian private sector crises or transition country crises. Quite simply, for decades Greece indulged in unsustainable debt dynamics, whether openly or in backroom books running large fiscal deficits financed by sovereign debt. 

    But the Greek story has two twists.

    First, Greece is not only an “advanced country,” where post-war debt crises have been rare, but also in the euro area, where a  credible central bank, an (admittedly dysfunctional) fiscal rule, and some commonality in economic institutions underpinned implicit

    ...

    Read More
  • Progress at G-20 Summit? The View from Europe

    To spend to encourage growth, or to cut spending to reduce debt? That is the question facing the world’s leading economies. As Howard Schneiderof the Washington Post puts it, “In economic terms, it is a bit like creating a perpetual motion machine – cutting tens of billions of dollars in public spending would almost certainly slow growth but is considered necessary to tame record levels of government debt.”

    At the conclusion of the G-20 summit in Toronto over the weekend, members agreed to deficit-reduction targets, and announced their intent to pursue higher capital requirements for

    ...

    Read More
  • Transatlantic Clash at G20?

    Stuart Eizenstadt and Caio Koch-Weser correctly argue that it's time for "a renaissance of joint economic and political leadership by the U.S. and the EU and its members" at tomorrow's G20 Summit.   We won't, however, be getting it.

    Time's Read More

  • China's Renminbi Gambit

    Over the weekend, China announced just ahead of the Toronto G20 summit that it would "enhance the RMB exchange rate flexibility" in response to" the recent economic situation and financial market developments at home and abroad, and the balance of payments (BOP) situation" at home. What does this mean?

    According to a Washington Post report,

    Facing growing pressure from around the world,

    ...

    Read More
  • World Collapse Explained in 3 Minutes

    The Australian comedy team of John Clarke and Bryan Dawe present a hilarious and yet informative take on the Euro debt crisis.

    This duo, likely unfamiliar to our American and European readers, have been appearing together on Australian television doing satirical interviews since 1989, first on "A Current Affair" and on "The 7:30 Report" since 1997.    They've won the ARIA Award for "Best Australian Comedy Record."


    Read More