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努特·韦林克:处在十字路口的欧洲

栏目:财经    发布时间:2018-03-14 13:28
努特·韦林克:处在十字路口的欧洲

编者语:

本文为荷兰央行原行长努特·韦林克在IMI McKinnon Lectures上所做的演讲。文章讲述了全球化贸易下主要国家政治与经济的现状,各国之间的摩擦与挑战等并分析了欧洲在全球化挑战下出现的一体化能力弱以及欧洲央行的货币政策等,最后文章得出结论,世界在飞速变化,新兴大国规模大并且发展速度快,他们融入世界经济对所有参与者都有巨大影响,欧洲各国在适应未来世界的过程中逐步放弃部分主权是独一无二的尝试。敬请阅读。

文/努特·韦林克(荷兰央行原行长) 翻译/ 蔡越 审校/陆可凡

中文译文

处在十字路口的欧洲

全球景象

引言

世界在飞速变化,我们目睹经济和政治关系正发生历史性变革。这些变化将使500年来西方国家统治世界的局面宣告终结。不言而喻,美国作为全球最强大的国家不会一夜之间消失。但是,摆在我们面前的,是一个复杂、痛苦、可能多发事故的国际关系调整过程。在这一背景下,特朗普现象和英国脱欧应该得到关注。要如何应对这一调整过程?这一问题给主要国家的决策者带来了许多复杂挑战。应对这一过程不仅需要充足的智慧,也需要对未来完全一体化的世界相互依存关系的充分了解。在这样一个相互依存的世界里,即使是强国也将丧失强权。

经济学家会告诉你,中国和其他国家融入世界经济促进了繁荣,对所有人都有利。从理论上看,他们所言无误,但我想对这个观点稍作补充。中国(更宽泛地说,是全球化)对世界其它地区的影响如此之大,来得如此之快,至少从短期来看,似乎已经超过了西方国家的吸收能力。当然我们明白,要应对日益全球化的世界,劳动力市场和产品市场结构改革必不可少,但在社会和政治层面上,事实证明要在民主社会实施这些改革极其艰难。

一些研究显示,美中贸易逆差使美国流失了数百万个工作岗位。据称在英国和其他国家也存在同样的工作流失现象。另外,还有人抱怨,全球化带来的收入增益并没有平均分配。近来的研究将欧洲民粹运动的兴起与全球化进程联系在一起,还将其联系到其它因素,例如社会中的大规模文化变迁,自觉受到这一事件威胁的人们因而发起了文化抵制。无论这些(诸多)研究有何价值,我认为工业化世界严重低估了全球化冲击的规模、速度和影响。中国加入世贸组织是一个巨大飞跃。虽然如此,助长了工业化国家的失业和收入不平等问题的不仅是全球化,还有技术发展,且后者的影响日益增强。国际清算银行在近日发表的2017年年度报告中得出结论:“全球化不是国内不平等加剧的主因;技术才是”。因此,只关注全球化无异于刻舟求剑,但美国当局似乎就在这么做。

保护主义抬头的风险

这一届美国政府声称,他们不反对全球化和自由贸易,但这种贸易应该是“智慧贸易(smart trade)”。目前,唯一的解读或许是:通过关税、特殊税收和道义劝告等手段保护本国产业免受外国竞争(“买美国货,雇美国人”)。不过,现在就对美国未来几年的贸易政策作出判断还为时过早,但是征兆不甚乐观。与中国的对话已首先开启,与加拿大、墨西哥的对话也已展开。至少目前,在特朗普总统的关注范围内,中国不再是汇率操纵国。我们且拭目以待,看未来会发生什么,以及美国政府是否会把钱花在刀刃上。

特朗普提出的“智慧贸易”(这个词蒂勒森也用过)是他对他所认为的不正当竞争做出的回应,特别是来自墨西哥、中国,也包括来自德国的竞争。如果否认不正当竞争时有发生,则属无知之谈,但如果中国和/或墨西哥和/或其他国家违反贸易规则,也应该在世贸组织框架下处理这些违规行为,而非开启有破坏性的贸易战。我们这些工业化国家应该做的是增强我所称的“吸收能力”。换言之,我们应该加快结构改革,采取更多措施(如完善学校教育),以更好地应对和充分发挥全球化的成果。全球化“在过去半个世纪以来对人们的生活产生了深远的积极影响”,这一点不容否认。

中国领导层回应特朗普贸易理念的方式很有意思。主席立即(2016年11月19日)表示,中国“将继续全面参与经济全球化”。随后,在达沃斯世界经济论坛上,主席强调,“各国应该在更广泛的背景下看待自己的利益,不能以牺牲他人的利益为代价”以及“不能一遇到风浪就退回到港湾中去”。2017年6月27日,总理在大连夏季达沃斯会议开幕式上做主旨演讲时重复了同样的讯息。

在某种程度上,中国已经对美国的保护主义威胁作出了回应。中国大力推动“区域全面伙伴关系”和在亚洲建立更广泛的自由贸易区,从而建立自己的庞大经济区。在我看来,建立自己的腹地也是中国希望借“一带一路”计划达成的目标。我认为“一带一路”似乎不仅是经济计划,也是一个政治计划。

美国的“智慧贸易”理念主张贸易要符合“美国优先”原则,这使欧洲意识到他们不应像过去那样过分依赖其传统盟友美国。加强与中国及其它远东国家的贸易关系在欧盟议程上占据了更重要的位置。有趣的是,特朗普就北约和环境保护等其它领域发布的政策和声明也使欧洲国家更加团结,并引导他们探索未来的新联盟。的确,挑战往往会带来新的机遇。

汇率问题

美国已连续多年出现了与中国的贸易逆差,差额约3千亿美元。这是由于美对中出口约1千亿美元、进口约4千亿美元造成的。特朗普曾指责中国操纵汇率,但这种声音已逐渐消失。至少目前是如此,因为我相信未来这一论调还会卷土重来。上世纪六、七十年代,美国对日本人也是如此,迫使日本当局让日元大幅走强。在我看来,中国对国际调整过程所做的贡献被严重低估了。2007年金融危机初期,中国的经常项目赤字占GDP的比例为10.1%;到了2016年第三季度,这个国家已成功将该比率下降至2.3%。在这中间很长一段时期,人民币大幅升值。

2016年期间,人民币加入特别提款权货币篮子,当局开始明确将更多的注意力放在稳定篮子而不是稳定美元上。同时,他们给了人民币发展以稍多灵活性。因此,人民币进一步走弱。考虑到美国的货币政策逐渐收紧,西方世界对中国经济的实力有些怀疑,这一现象毫不奇怪。中国人民银行,也即中国央行,为了缓解人民币下行压力已经损失近1万亿美元。此外,中国央行去年还采取了措施限制资本外流。我认为中国当局已尽了最大努力和应尽职责使这一过程尽可能有序进行。但这不是我想说的。我想说的是,如果你要求中国政府放开经济,包括其国际收支资本帐户,那么人们就应该同意汇率要进一步由市场决定。这将增强国际清算银行所说的国际货币金融体系的“过度弹性(excess elasticity)”,也即该体系“放大金融繁荣和萧条的影响继而导致严重的宏观经济损失的能力”。

我认为,这些发展表明人民币的快速、全面开放应该受到谨慎对待,因为这可能导致大量资本的不必要流动,同时也给其他国家带来严重问题。

小结

在具体谈欧洲之前,请允许我试着总结这一部分讲话的内容。在经济史上,我们从未见过中国(其他国家紧随其后)这么大体量的国家在如此短的时间内就融入世界经济。显然,我们正在进入一个新时代,在这个过程中经济和政治上的小麻烦不可避免。我们应该密切合作,尽可能尝试解决和控制这些小麻烦。总体来说,西方经济体还没做足准备应对全球化的冲击。他们的经济过于僵化,不够灵活,无法适应新情况和充分从全球化中受益。对欧洲来说尤为如此。因此,欧洲显然正处于十字路口。如果不加快改革,反全球化的力量就会进一步增强。其次,如果美国要抛弃一直以来对国际贸易的开放态度,欧洲就必须重新评估自身在全球化世界中的位置。但即使美国不打算走回头路,美国和欧洲也应该意识到,一个不同于以往的世界正在出现,新的参与者会加入进来,相互依赖关系也会增强。我的感觉是,我们还没为这个世界做好准备。在这一世界中,资本可以自由流动,汇率主要由市场决定。我们仍缺少应对这样一个世界的制度和分析框架。就这一点来说,我们现在都处于十字路口,而不仅是欧洲、中国或美国。

具体到欧洲

经济发展

彭博社针对来年发布的“悲观主义者指南”读来总是很有趣。2016年12月,彭博社在网上发布了2017年潜在灾难清单,其中包括特朗普先生当选美国总统会引发的各种难以预料的后果(特别是与中国有关的后果)、欧洲大陆上民粹运动的兴起(法国、荷兰、德国、意大利的大选),当然还有英国脱欧。因此,2017年可能要出很多事。但就欧洲经济来说,我倾向于说:“目前为止还不错”。话虽如此,我们这一年才过了一半!在荷兰和法国,民粹主义反欧盟党派遭遇溃败,尤其在法国,可说一败涂地。尽管特朗普当选了新任美国总统,英国脱欧谈判也已开启,但近来的经济数据(GDP、失业率)令人鼓舞。若以年化计算,欧元区第一季度经济增速高达2.3%,远高于同期美国的1.2%。还有一个好消息是,货币联盟成员之间的增速差异处在1999年联盟成立以来的最低水平,六月份的消费者信心指数也达到了16年来的最高点。

长期发展

如果看稍长期的发展,情况就不那么乐观。在金融危机这一低谷期(2009年),实际人均GDP水平已经相差悬殊。例如,葡萄牙人均实际GDP在2009年只有德国的54%。然而,在2009 - 2016年期间,欧元区成员之间的差距进一步拉大。在此期间,德国人均实际GDP累计增长12%(美国为9.8%),比英国高出3.3%,比法国高9.4%,比西班牙高10.3%,比意大利高14.3%,比希腊高32.5%。这不是非常良好的状况。从系统的角度看,我特别担心欧元区国家之间的收入差距和竞争力差距(持续存在)。让我担心甚至害怕的还有失业率。尽管现在总体失业率为9.4%,处于2009年以来的最低水平,但这个数字仍然很高。南欧的青年失业率尤为如此。欧元区的平均青年失业率为19.4%,而在意大利、西班牙和希腊,这一比例分别高达35.2%、41.5%和45.2%。因此,欧洲有产生迷惘一代的风险。

一些观察结果

从上述可以得出一些有趣的观察结果/结论。首先,在脱欧谈判的背景下,英国人经常将欧洲形容为世界上的薄弱环节,而生气勃勃、了不起的英国经济应该从中脱离出来。然而,实际情况是,在人均数据上(2009-2016年累计实际增长8.7%),英国虽然确实比法国(4.6%)强,但明显落后于德国(12%)。我的第二个观察结果是欧洲最强大的几个国家和其他一些较弱的欧元区国家之间的人均实际增长率与失业率差距令人害怕,且差距仍在扩大。这十分令人担忧,不管从经济还是政治角度看都是如此。欧洲国家应该解决这个问题,否则这将在未来某个时间点危及欧盟项目,而且不言自明的是,欧洲货币联盟也会受到威胁。

许多观察家和国际货币基金组织认为,德国和荷兰的经常账户盈余过大,他们应该通过减税和基础设施投资来刺激经济。从国际收支角度看,这种说法没错(虽然在货币联盟中,重要的只是整个联盟的国际收支平衡)。这样的政策也将有助于提高核心国家的通货膨胀率,并提高整个欧元区的通货膨胀率。德国和荷兰的扩张性预算政策可能会给欧洲的其他经济体带来一些刺激,但是最终,这样的政策会使德国/荷兰的经济进一步强过欧洲较弱国家。最根本也更为基础的问题是,欧元对德国来说太弱了,对其他一些国家来说则太强势。要解决这个根本问题只能靠提振弱国经济。现行方法是欧洲央行发挥桥梁作用,为政府争取时间 以寻求正确的政策。但这一做法不能永远持续。各国政府特别是弱国政府,应该利用当前的复苏完成未竟的改革事业。

英国脱欧

在评估欧洲的现况和前景时,不可避免要花些笔墨谈谈正在脱欧的英国。

一年多前,我就英国脱欧发表了演讲。当时,我说英国留在欧盟已经不再是必然事件。遗憾的是,我补充说:“英国脱欧的可能性真实存在,但是直觉告诉我——虽然我在希望与恐惧之间徘徊——如果选民不确定脱欧会对自己造成什么后果,他们会倾向于保持现状”。我的直觉明显使我上了当。它给我的教训是,在预测英国脱欧的“未来”时,我们应该非常谨慎。另外,由于最近发生了很多完全不可预见的事件,我们更要如此。

非常有用的办法是把脱欧决定的短期影响和几年后可能/会出现的后果区分开来。可以预见,短期影响之一是英镑贬值,这实际上已经发生了。这又影响了且还在影响物价、实际可支配收入和消费。更有趣的是未来几年会发生什么,而这完全取决于很多未知因素。目前,未知因素的数量比我在2016年6月份预想的还要多,原因之一是6月8日英国的提前大选上出现了戏剧性的结果。保守党在特蕾莎·梅女士的领导下没有获胜,反而失去了议会多数席位。梅女士曾声称“英国现在比以往任何时候都需要一个强大政府,来为我们的国家和人民争取最佳的脱欧协议。”,以此来“推销”提前大选。在糟糕的选举结果出炉后,为了在议会中获得多数席位,梅女士可能需要得到民主统一党(DUP),即北爱尔兰最大党派的支持。我们难以评估这种支持会有多稳定。民主统一党似乎准备视情况支持保守党的少数政府。依靠民主统一党不仅对梅女士而言是一种羞辱,而且在政治上也十分危险。英国政府一直远离爱尔兰内部问题。一方面,民主统一党是反欧盟的;另一方面,它希望与爱尔兰共和国(即欧盟)划定软边界。这意味着民主统一党反对“硬性脱欧”,而“硬性脱欧”则是梅女士所推崇的。她曾多次表示没有协议总比坏协议好(工党称这是“鲁莽的做法”;这一点我刚好赞同)。另外还有“大废除法案”(Great Repeal bill),这一法案旨在将欧盟法律写入英国法律。如果苏格兰的立法委员能就该法案进行一次单独投票并否决了它,那么情况可能会愈发复杂。

此刻,英国在谈判过程中的政策/立场如何完全不明朗。我们也不清楚梅女士能否继续担任首相或能在任多久。由于伦敦高层公寓火灾事件处理不当,她遭到了幸存者和媒体的猛烈抨击,不得不发声道歉,她的位子因此更加不稳固。英国方面不确定因素的重要性不应被低估,因为时不我待。随着英国于2017年3月29日宣布脱离欧元区的意向,《里斯本条约》第50条所规定的两年期限已经开始。欧洲理事会一致决定——真的是一致决定——延长该期限。但从宣布脱欧开始,达摩克勒斯之剑就高悬在英国人头上。

到目前为止,其余欧盟国家一直团结一致。去年三月,他们为欧盟首席谈判代表米歇尔·巴尼耶(Michel Barnier)制定了具有法律约束力的指导原则。其中明确了四个方面的谈判原则:英国应该支付退欧账单(履行早先的承诺);欧盟公民在英国的权利应得到充分保护;应该找到办法解决爱尔兰两个“部分”之间的边界问题;应该达成一个过渡协议,其中包括保证过渡期内仍能自由流动,欧洲法院仍享有管辖权。

有趣的是,英国脱欧的威胁——就像特朗普在国防、贸易和气候方面的观点一样——似乎让欧盟委员会和其他欧盟国家的决策者把思绪集中在如何进一步加强欧盟上面。在这一背景下,法国大选的结果(马克隆取得压倒性胜利)及德国总理默克尔获得更多支持这两件事可以说令人鼓舞。如果英国确实决定脱欧(概率很高但谁都不能确定,英国方面的想法似乎有所改变),谈判将非常艰难。英国人不接受继续留在内部市场这一模式,因为这意味着他们必须接受所谓的4种自由(货物、人员、服务和资本的自由流动);关税同盟也没什么吸引力,因为届时贸易谈判仍然是由欧盟负责。加入欧洲经济区(冰岛、列支敦士登和挪威)也很难接受。虽然它不涉及加入欧盟关税同盟,但它对自由流动的要求与欧盟相差无几。

我认为最终各方将表现出一定灵活性,成功找到妥协办法,但很显然,“谁想离开这个大家庭,就不能指望摆脱一切责任,同时保留特权”(安格拉·默克尔)。同样显而易见的是,英国脱离欧盟的过程——这不包括在两年谈判期内——将需要很多很多年。对于未来几年将遭受的损失,英国可能要过很长一段时间才能通过增强的自主性补回,如果可以补回的话。这些损失包括失去设在伦敦的欧盟机构(欧洲银行管理局、欧洲药物管理局)、导致本国金融部门的衰弱,更宽泛地说,对其GDP的增长构成压力。也许最大的损失将是英国对欧盟地区决策的影响力的减弱。这是进一步独立带来的负面产物。

而欧洲经济比较庞大,似乎足以承受英国脱欧这一挫折。英国脱欧甚至可能对欧洲一体化进程产生积极的推动作用。不要忘记:多年来,英国一直在阻挠进一步加强欧盟的所有举措。话虽如此,人们不应理所当然地认为英国脱欧会顺利有序进行。英国央行首席经济学家安迪·哈尔丹最近表示这个假设很难成立。我倾向于同意他的观点。脱离欧盟实际上是一个冒险过程,且相较于欧盟,对英国来说风险更大。

小结

英国脱欧并没有使欧盟过得更舒坦。失去了英国令人遗憾,但带来的影响似乎可以克服。但是,这并不是欧盟其他成员国所面临的唯一问题。许多强国(主要是北欧国家)和相对较弱国/弱国之间仍存在巨大差距,对此我们应该有所作为。如果不考虑建立“拨款联盟”(transfer union)——肯定也没有足够多的国家会支持组建这样一个联盟——弱国应该主要依靠自己解决问题,当然欧盟和较强成员国也要提供一定帮助。强制对成员国进行大规模财政转移的政治联盟暂时不会出现。

这并不是要否定过去二十年里我们取得的诸多进展(例如建立货币联盟、欧洲中央银行、欧洲监管机构和银行联盟;此外,我们大幅加强了预算规则和实践,总赤字水平从2010年的6%下降到2017年的1.4%)。但是无可否认,欧洲一体化项目要完全稳固下来还需要更多进展。未来几年,我们应该完善银行联盟、资本市场联盟,进一步加强内部市场。改变针对主权债券的监管措施、从而解开“银行-主权债券的死循环”也是明智之举。法国人提出,可以设立欧盟财政部、委任一名欧盟财政部长。很容易就能看出这些人不怎么了解现实,因为最终一切都取决于你最初想要赋予这样一个机构/人多大权力。我认为很多领域都有待取得新的进展。

此刻对欧洲来说,真正的“十字路口”关头是:如何应对英国脱欧、如何解决欧洲较弱国国内的问题、如何在欧洲一体化项目上取得进一步进展,以及更宽泛地说,如何进一步加强该项目的公信力。

欧洲中央银行及其政策

非常规货币政策

在金融危机的头几年中,我认为各大央行都做了出色的工作。他们为银行体系提供了大规模流动性,并实施非常宽松的货币政策,从而防止了全球经济崩溃。那可说是完美无缺,但一段时间后,他们开始了所谓的非常规货币政策。央行启动这些政策(前瞻性指导和广泛大规模的量化宽松政策)的主要论据是受到通货紧缩威胁,而当时政策利率接近于零底线。在这种情况下,很多人选择参考日本的情况。日本曾经长期通货紧缩,导致其实体经济停滞不前。至少很多人都是这么想的。

要探讨日本的经济运行情况,有必要把人口统计数据考虑在内。 “鉴于日本的人口变化情况比较独特,人均GDP同样重要 ,如果不是更重要的话。以此为依据,在90年代日本经济明显放缓。但2000-2013年间,日本人均GDP累计增长10%,相较于美国的12%,这一增长相当可观”。日本在2014年底的消费价格水平与上个世纪九十年代初期大致相同(比那时高2%)。在此期间,通胀率窄幅起落,且往往是负的多、正的少,但并没有真正的通货紧缩。如果通货紧缩,即负的通货膨胀率,是物价和工资螺旋下降的(潜在)开始,正如我们在大萧条中看到的那样,那通缩确实很危险,我们需要快速果断采取行动。但我们的经济和社会不同于上个世纪30年代的。一个有趣的例子是希腊。2008年以来,其国内生产总值下降25%后通胀率才变为负数(2013年为-1.7%,2014年为-2.6%)。2014年是通货紧缩最严重的一年,但这一年,实际GDP已勉强开始恢复增长。

必须承认,现在的低通胀(欧洲的核心通胀率一段时间以来在1%上下浮动)应该被置于需求长期低迷的背景下,其他因素似乎也扮演了重要角色,如人口老龄化(影响储蓄行为和工资)、全球化进程(给进口价格造成压力)和技术发展(例如互联网竞争加剧、出现了更便宜的生产方法等)。技术发展或许也削弱了劳工的议价能力。在某些地区,我们看到价格下降惊人。很可能我们正在面临——全球范围的——长期(更长期)的低通胀。如果通过时刻让通胀率保持在固定目标值(接近2%)来战胜这种低通胀环境,只能靠比以往更宽松的货币政策,并且最终将——通过某些经济部门的泡沫——演变为新一轮金融危机或通货膨胀。请让我引用时任国际清算银行副总经理的赫维·汉努恩所说的一段话(2014):“在这个意义上说,持续的非常规货币政策在眼前可以换得更高的稳定性,但代价是平均增长会降低——通过破坏经济的供给侧——在未来还会导致金融更不稳定”。在这方面,我还要引用国际清算银行总经理卡拉昂在一年前的演讲中所说的话:“如果一种药物没有如预期那样起作用,不一定是因为用量不够,也许应该重新考虑整体治疗方案和药物在其中发挥的功效。很可能需要的是别种药物。”

似乎需要更多的灵活性

因此,为了避免陷入长期使用过度宽松货币政策的陷阱,对各国央行来说,明智的做法是不要过分致力于实现某个具体的通胀率目标。他们不应该把通货紧缩形容成一个怪物(马丁·费尔德斯坦)。在这里,我特别想到的是日本央行和欧洲央行。(德拉吉:“在可持续发展的大路上,通胀率应该接近2%”;“这是一项法律义务”)。在我看来,更好的办法是为各国央行的通货膨胀目标设置弹性幅度,从而来引入更多灵活性。增加灵活性,特别是给予下行更多灵活性,将更加合理,因为我们不完全了解价格变化过程中发生了什么,并且我们可能在相对较长时期内面临低通胀甚至负通胀,却并没有进入通货紧缩下行循环的风险。欧洲央行自己对价格稳定做出了说明,但与之相反,美联储表现出了更高的灵活性,因为它肩负双重使命。但日本央行却坚决要实现具体的通货膨胀目标。

由于超宽松货币政策的效果有限,我认为使通胀目标更灵活些似乎更为明智。目前所有我知道的研究都表明,你需要投入巨额资金才只能对通胀和增长产生有限影响,当然这也取决于相关国家和这种政策开始时的情况。欧洲的复苏在2013年第二季度已经开始,两年之后量化宽松政策才实施。不合适的货币政策操作可能会带来严重副作用。副作用之一就是金融市场脱离经济实体。与此相关的是,各国央行受控于金融市场,就像央行也可能受控于无法承受更高利率的财政当局。央行采取了史无前例的政策,目的是让利率保持在尽可能低的水平,甚至为负。这些政策正在推高资产价格,包括债券、股票、名画和房地产的价格。花旗研究部门的分析师因此叹息:“请别买这么多债券,央行先生”。今天的金融市场存在许多扭曲现象,包括掉期利差扭曲、收益率曲线不能再用作预测未来经济发展的指标、传统的波动性指标已毫无用处等等,要评估风险规模几无可能。我们正处在指标失灵的时期,这非常危险。

在欧洲,正是欧洲央行在帮那些极弱国家吊着一口气。它成功地进一步降息,缩小了强国与弱国的差距。这对弱国的生存至关重要。但考虑到副作用和越来越多的退出问题,这样的政策难以为继。在6月的会议上,欧洲央行关上了继续降息的大门,自明年起或在明年期间,它很可能会逐渐停止非常规政策。因此,欧洲央行处于十字路口,但对欧洲来说更是如此,因为如果没有欧洲央行的支持,其他当局最终还是要解决仍然存在甚至不断增长的差距。

结论

世界在飞速变化。新兴大国(中国、印度)融入世界经济对所有参与者都有巨大影响。这是因为这些新加入者的规模巨大,发展速度很快。不是所有人都充分认识到它们的加入会带来哪些结果,而我们是否为这个美丽新世界做好了准备也有待观察。某种程度上,这个欧洲项目就是对新情况的回应。各国逐步放弃部分主权,以更好地应对未来世界,这可算是独一无二的尝试。这个进程中会出现很多小麻烦。英国脱欧就是其中一例。我们会看到更多危及这一进程的事情发生。即便如此,我们也在很多方面取得了巨大进步。在脱欧过程中,英国人将会体会到他们融入欧盟的程度有多深,以及他们将要失去多少。欧洲取得的进展一部分体现为货币联盟的创立。有了新建的欧洲央行援助,欧洲得以安然度过金融危机。在我看来,这一点毫无疑问。同时,国家之间的差距仍然存在甚至已经拉大。各国当局应该解决这些差距,不要让欧洲央行负担过重。但各个央行自己——无论是欧洲还是其他地方的央行——都应该意识到,从风险管理的角度看,他们也负有责任,换言之:“该结束了,现在潜在副作用变得太大了”。

英文原文

EUROPE AT A CROSSROADS

By Nout Wellink

27 June 2017

GLOBAL PICTURE

Introduction

The world is changingrapidly. We are witnessing historic changes in economic and politicalrelations. These changes will put to an end a period of 500 years in which theWestern countries have ruled the world. Self-evidently the US will notdisappear overnight as the world's most powerful country. But what we have infront of us is a complex, painful, potentially accident-prone adjustmentprocess in international relations. The Trump phenomenon but also Brexit shouldbe seen in this context. Policymakers of the major countries face a number ofcomplex challenges as to how to deal with this adjustment process. It requiresa lot of wisdom and also a full understanding of the interdependencies intomorrow’s fully integrated world. In such an interdependent world even thepowerful loose power.

Economists will tell you thatthe integration of China and other countries into the world economy isimproving prosperity and to the benefit of all. In theory they are right, but Iwant to qualify this view a bit. The impact of China (and more broadly speakingglobalisation) on other parts of the world has been so big and has come sofast, that it seems to have exceeded, at least in the short term, theabsorption capacity of Western countries. We knew, of course, that structuralreforms, in labour markets and product markets were necessary to cope with aglobalising world, but socially and politically these reforms proved extremelydifficult to implement in democratic societies.

According to certain studies thetrade deficit with China has cost the US millions of jobs. The same job-lossesstories have been told about the UK and other countries. In addition, there isthe complaint that the income gains from globalisation have not been evenlyspread. Recent studies link the rise of populist movements in Europe to theglobalisation process, but also to other factors such as massive culturalchanges in our societies, resulting in a cultural backlash among people whofeel threatened by this development. Whatever the merits of these (numerous)studies, I think that the industrialized world seriously underestimated thescale, speed and the impact of the globalisation shock. China’s membership ofWTO was a quantum leap. That said it is not only globalisation that plays arole in the job losses and the income inequality problems in industrializedcountries, but also - and increasingly - technological developments. The B.I.S.came in its recently published Annual Report 2017 to the conclusion that“globalisation is not the main cause of increased within-country inequality;technology is”. Therefore, focussing only on globalisation, as the USAdministration seems to do, is fighting the last war.

Risk of rising protectionism

The present US Administrationargues that it is not against globalisation and free trade, but it should be"smart trade". For the time being the only interpretation can be:protecting your own industry from foreign competition by tariffs, specialtaxes, moral suasion, etc. (“Buy American, Hire American”). Nevertheless, it isstill too early to pass judgment as to the trade policy of the US in the comingyears, but the omens are not entirely good. Kind of dialogue has started withChina, but also with Canada and Mexico, and China is, at least for the timebeing, not anymore as a currency manipulator on President Trump's radar screen.Let’s wait and see what the future will bring and whether the US Administrationwill put its money where its mouth is.

Trump's "smarttrade" (these words have also been used by Tillerson) is his reaction towhat he sees as unfair competition from especially Mexico, China but alsoGermany. It would be naive to deny that sometimes there is unfair competition,but if China and/or Mexico and/or other countries violate trade rules, oneshould cope with these violations in the context of WTO and not start adamaging trade war. What we should do in the industrialized part of the world,is increasing what I called our absorption capacity, that is to say we shouldspeed up structural reforms and take additional measures (e.g. better schooling),so as to cope better with and fully reap the fruits of globalisation. It isundeniable that globalisation “has had a profoundly positive impacton people’slive overthe past half century” .

It is interesting to see howthe Chinese leadership has reacted to Trump's trade ideas. Immediately (onNovember 19th, 2016) President Xi Jinping stated that China "will remainfully involved in economic globalisation". And later, at the Davos' WorldEconomic Forum, Mr Xi stressed that "Countries should view their owninterests in the broader context and refrainfrom pursuing their own interestsat the expense of others". And: ...ships should not scurry back to harbourat first signof a storm". Premier Li Keqiang repeated these messages inhis keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the so-called Summer Davosmeeting in Dalian on 27 June 2017.

To some extent China alreadyhas developed an answer to the protectionist threats coming from the US. China strongly promotes a "Regional Comprehensive Partnership" and abroader free trade zone for Asia, thereby creating its own, vast economic zone.Creating its own hinterland is also what, to my mind, China is aiming at withits "One Belt, One Road"-project. This project seems as much apolitical as an economic project to me.

The US ideas about"smart trade", trade that fits in an "Americafirst"-philosophy, have made the Europeans aware that they should notoverly rely, as they did in the past, on its traditional ally America.Strengthening trade relations with China and other countries in the Far Easthas clearly come higher on EU’s agenda. The interesting thing is that Trump'spolicies and statements, also in other area's such as NATO and environmentalprotection, have brought European countries closer together and has led them toexplore new alliances for the future. It’s true, challenges often create newopportunities.

Exchange rate issues

The US has a trade deficitwith China, for years in a row now, of around $300 bln. This is the result ofexports amounting to some $100 bln and imports of around $ 400 bln. Trumpblamed China for being a currency manipulator. That song has faded away. Forthe time being at least, because I am convinced that this music will get areplay in the future. The US did the same with the Japanese in the sixties andseventies of the last century and forced the Japanese authorities to strengthenthe yen dramatically. To my mind China has contributed to the internationaladjustment process at a scale that is highly underappreciated. The countrysucceeded in reducing its current account deficit from 10,1% of GDP at thebeginning of the financial crisis in 2007 to 2,3% in Q3 2016. During a majorpart of that period the rmb experienced a very strong appreciation.

In the course of 2016 the rmbbecame part of the SDR basket and the authorities started, self-evidently, tofocus more on stability vis-a-vis a basket instead of vis-a-vis the US dollar.At the same time they allowed for a bit more flexibility in the development ofthe rmb. As a consequence the rmb weakened further, not surprisingly so takinginto account the gradual tightening of monetary policy in the US and some doubtin the Western world as to the strength of the Chinese economy. The PBoC, theChinese central bank, lost almost 1 trillion dollar to mitigate the downwardpressure on the rmb. In addition, last year measures were taken to restrictcapital outflows. I think the Chinese authorities did what they could andshould do to keep the process as orderly as possible. But this is not the pointI want to make. The point I want to make is that, if you ask from the Chineseauthorities to liberalize their economy, including the capital account of thebalance of payments, one should accept that market forces determine more thanin the past the exchange rate. It will increase what is called by the B.I.S.“the “excess elasticity” of the international monetary and financial system-its ability to amplify financial booms and busts and thereby cause seriousmacro-economic costs” .

For me these developmentsshow that one should be very careful with a quick, complete liberalization ofthe rmb, because the result could be substantial, unwelcome capital flows,bringing also other countries in serious problems.

In summary

Let me - before turning morespecifically to Europe - try to summarize the message of this part of mylecture. Never in economic history we have seen a country of the size of China(and others are following) integrating in the world economy in such a shortperiod. We are clearly entering a new era, with inevitably economic andpolitical hick ups during this process. We should try and control as much aspossible these hick ups, in close cooperation. Speaking in very general terms,the Western economies were not sufficiently prepared for the globalisationshock. Their economies were too rigid, not flexible enough to adjust to the newcircumstances and to fully reap the benefits of globalisation. This especiallyholds for Europe. Europe, therefore, is clearly at a crossroads. If it does notspeed up its reform program the forces against globalisation will furtherincrease. Secondly, Europe has to re-assess its position in a globalising worldif the US is moving away from its traditionally open attitude towardsinternational trade. But even if the US is not taking steps back, the US aswell as Europe should realise that a world different from the past is emerging,with new players and increased interdependencies. My feeling is that we are notsufficiently prepared for this world in which capital flows can freely movearound and in which exchange rates are mainly determined by market forces. Theinstitutional and analytical framework to cope with such a world is stillmissing. In this respect we are all at a crossroads now, not only Europe orChina or the US.

EUROPE MORE IN PARTICULAR

Economic developments

It is always fun to read theBloomberg's "Pessimist's Guide" to the coming year. In December 2016Bloomberg published on the internet a list of potential disasters in 2017,ranging from the unpredictable consequences of the election of Mr Trump asPresident of the United States (especially in relation to China), to the riseof populist movements on the European continent (elections in France, theNetherlands, Germany, Italy), and, of course, Brexit. So, a lot could have gonewrong in 2017, but as far as the European economy is concerned I am inclined tosay: “So far, so good”. That being said we are only on the half of the year! Inthe Netherlands and France populist anti-Europe parties were defeated, inFrance by a landslide, and in spite of the new US President and theBrexit-discussions recent economic figures (gdp, unemployment) are veryencouraging. On an annualized basis the euro zone economy was expanding in thefirst quarter of 2017 at a rate of 2.3%, clearly outstripping the 1.2% growthrate of the US in that quarter. Positive news is also that the dispersion ofgrowth rates between the members of the monetary union is at its lowest levelsince the start of the union in 1999 and that consumer confidence in Junestroke a 16-year high.

Longer-term developments

Looking at some morelong-term developments, the picture becomes less rosy. Real per capita gdplevels were already widely diverging at the trough of the financial crisis(2009). Portugal’s per capita real gdp, for example, amounted in 2009 to only54% of Germany’s. However, in the period 2009-2016 the divergences between euroarea members have further widened. During those years real per capita per capitain Germany increased, cumulatively, with 12% (US 9.8%), 3.3% more than in theUK, 7,4% more than in France, 10.3% more than in Spain, 14.3% more than inItaly, and 32.5% more than in Greece. This is not a very healthy situation.From a system’s perspective I am especially worried about (the persistency of)the income and competitiveness gaps between the countries in the euro area.What also worries and even frightens me is the level of unemployment. Althoughtotal unemployment is at its lowest level - 9.4% - since 2009, it is stillextremely high. This especially holds for youth unemployment in SouthernEurope. On average youth unemployment amounts to 19.4% in the euro area, but inItaly, Spain and Greece this rate has reached levels of 35,2 %, 41,5%and 45,2% respectively. Europe, therefore, is faced with the risk of a lostgeneration.

Some observations

Some interestingobservations/ conclusions can be drawn from the above. First of all, theBritish - in the context of the Brexit discussion - often portray Europe as theworld's weak link from which the wonderful, dynamic UK economy should decoupleitself. However, the reality is that on a per capita basis (cumulative realgrowth of 8.7% in 2009-2016) the UK is, indeed, doing better than France (4.6%)but clearly lagging behind Germany (12%). My second observation concerns thefrightening, still growing gap between the real per capita growth and theunemployment levels in the strongest European countries, and a number of other,weaker euro area countries. This is very worrisome, not only from an economic,but also from a political perspective. It is a problem European countriesshould address, otherwise it will endanger at some point in time the EU-projectand, self-evidently, the European Monetary Union.

Many observers, also the IMF,are of the view that Germany and the Netherlands run much too large a surpluson their current account and that they should stimulate their economies via taxcuts and infrastructural investments. They are right from a balance of paymentspoint of view (although in a monetary union only the balance of payments of theunion as a whole matters). Such a policy would also contribute to ahigher inflation in core countries and lift the inflation rate in the euro areaas a whole. An expansionary German and Dutch budgetary policy might furthermoregive some stimulus to other economies in Europe, but at the end of the day sucha policy will,ceteris paribus, even further strengthen the German/Dutch economyvis-a-vis the weaker European countries. The underlying, more fundamentalproblem is that the euro is too weak for Germany, but too strong for some othercountries. Strengthening the economy of weaker countries can only solve thisvery fundamental problem. The present approach, in which the ECB, the EuropeanCentral Bank, plays kind of a bridging role, is buying time for governments topursue the right policies, but cannot be continued forever. The authorities,especially in the weak countries, should use the present recovery to complete unfinishedreform businesses.

Brexit

In assessing the situation inand the perspectives for Europe it is inevitable to spend some words on theBritish leaving the European Union.

In a speech I delivered morethan a year ago on Brexit I said that the UK remaining a EU member was nolonger a racing certainty. Unfortunately I added: "The prospect of the UKleaving the EU is real but my instincts tell me - although I hover between hopeand fear - that voters tend to swingback to status quo if the become uncertainabout the consequences for themselves". My instinct clearly throwed meoff. The lesson is that we should be very careful in forecasting the “future”of Brexit. The more so because many completely unforeseen developments havetaken place recently.

It is useful to make adistinction between the short-term effects of the decision to leave the EU andwhat could/would happen after a few years. A predictable short-term effect wasthe depreciation of the pound, which actually took place. This had an impact/ishaving its impact on prices, real disposable income and consumption. Moreinteresting is what will happen in the years ahead. That totally depends on agreat number of unknowns. At present that number is even bigger than I thoughtin June 2016, one of the reasons being the dramatic outcome of the snapelections in the UK on June 8th. Instead of a victory the conservative party,under the leadership of Mrs May, lost its majority in the parliament. Mrs Mayhad "sold" the snap election with the argument that "Now, morethan ever, Britain needs a strong governmentto get the best Brexit deal for ourcountry and its people.” . After the disastrous outcome of the electionsMrs May needs, for a majority in parliament, the support of DUP, the DemocraticUnionist Party, the largest party in Northern Ireland. It is difficult toassess how stable this support will be. DUP seems prepared to back up aConservative minority government on a case-by-case basis. Relying on DUP is notonly humiliating for Mrs May, but also politically dangerous. The UK governmenthas always stayed far away from the internal Irish problems. On the one handDUP is Eurosceptic, on the otherhand it wants soft borders with the IrishRepublic, i.e. the EU. The implication is that DUP is against a hard Brexit asfavoured by Mrs May, who has said time and again that no deal is better than abad deal, (“a reckless approach”, according to the Labour Party; I happen toagree with that). If lawmakers in Scotland would be given a separate vote onthe Great Repeal Bill, which puts EU-law into British law, the situation mightbecome even more complex if they would decide to vote down this Bill.

At this very moment it iscompletely unclear what the UK policy/position during the negotiations will be.It is also unclear whether or how long Mrs May will survive. Her position hasbeen eroded further by her handling of the London Tower Fire, which was slammedby the surviving victims and the media and for which she had to apologize. Theseriousness of the uncertainties on the British side should not beunderestimated, because time and tide wait for no man. The 2-year period ofart.50 of the Lisbon Treaty has started with the notification of the intentionto leave the euro area on 29 March 2017. The European Council can decideunanimously -it's true - to extend this period, but the sword of Damocles ishanging above the heads of the British as of the notification to leave the EU.

Until now the remaining EUcountries have sticked together. Last March they have formulated legallybinding instructions for EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier. In four area'sclear cut principles for the negotiations have been formulated: the UK shouldpay an exit bill (meet earlier commitments), the rights of EU citizens in theUK should be sufficiently protected, a solution should be found for the borderproblems between the two “parts” of Ireland, and a transition deal should bereached, which includes continued free movement and the jurisdiction of theEuropean Court of Justice during the transition period).

Interesting is that theBrexit threat - just like Trump's views on defence, trade and climate - seemsto have focussed the minds of the European Commission and policy makers in theremaining EU countries on how to further strengthen the EU. Helpful in thiscontext is the outcome of the French elections (the overwhelming victory ofMacron) and the increased support for Mrs Merkel in Germany. If there is to bea Brexit (the probability is high but one never knows and the mood seems changinga bit in the UK) the negotiations will be extremely difficult. The model ofremaining a member of the internal market is not acceptable for the British,because then they have to accept the so-called 4 freedoms (freedom of movementof goods, people, services and capital); the customs union option is notattractive, because then it is still the EU that is responsible for tradenegotiations. Becoming a member of the European Economic Area (Iceland,Liechtenstein, Norway) will also be difficult to swallow. Although it does notinvolve membership of EU’s customs union, it implies freedom of movement toalmost the same extent as holds for EU-members.

I think that at the end ofthe day parties will show some flexibility and succeed in finding compromises,but it is quite clear that “Whoever wants to leave this family can not expectto shed allof its responsibilities but keep the privileges” (Angela Merkel). Itis also evident that the process of disentangling the UK from the EU - this issomething else than the 2 years negotiation period - will take many, manyyears. It might take a very long time, if ever, before the British, viaincreased autonomy, have made up for the losses they will suffer in the comingyears, losses that range from loosing London based EU agencies (EuropeanBanking Authority, European Medicines Agency), to a weakening of its financialsector, and more generally speaking, the pressure on its gdp growth. Perhaps the biggest loss will be the UK’s weakened impact on the decision-makingin the EU-area. This is the flipside of becoming more independent.

The European economy seemslarge enough to absorb the setback of Brexit. Brexit might even give a positiveimpulse to the European integration process. Don’t forget: the Britishhave been blocking for years in a row almost all initiatives to furtherstrengthen the EU. That being said, an orderly and smooth Brexit should notbeen taken for granted. Andy Haldane, BoE’s Chief economist, recently qualifiedthis as a strong assumption. I tend to agree with him. The disentanglement fromthe European Union indeed is a risky process, more for the UK than for the EU.

In summary

Brexit has not made lifeeasier for the EU. Brexit is regrettable, but seems surmountable. However, itis not the only problem the remaining EU members are confronted with. Somethingshould be done on the still existing, big divergences between a number ofstrong (mainly Northern) countries and the weaker/weak countries. If a transferunion is to be excluded - there is absolutely not enough support for such aunion - the weak countries should address their problems mainly themselves, ofcourse with some help of the EU and the stronger member states. A politicalunion to force upon member states substantial transfers is, for the time being,not in the offing.

That is not to say that wehave not made a lot of progress during the last two decades (e.g. with thecreation of a monetary union, a European Central Bank, a European supervisorand a banking union; furthermore we substantially strengthened budgetary rulesand practices, showing up in a fall of the aggregate deficit from 6% in 2010 to1.4% in 2017). But, admittedly, more progress is needed for the solidanchoring of the European integration project. In the coming years we should completethe banking union, the capital market union and further strengthen the internalmarket. It would also be wise to change the regulatory treatment of sovereignbonds so as to loosen the bank-sovereign loop. The French have floated the ideaof creating a EU Ministry of Finance with a EU Finance Minister. It is too easyto say that they are showing little sense of reality; because at the end of theday it all depends on how much power you, initially, want to give to such aninstitution/person. I think in many areas further progress can be made.

The real “at a crossroads”moments for Europe at this very moment are: how to deal with Brexit, how toaddress the problems in the weaker European countries, how to make furtherprogress with the European project and how to further strengthen, moregenerally speaking, the credibility of this project.

THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK AND ITS POLICIES

Unconventional monetary policies

During the first years of thefinancial crisis the major central banks did, to my mind, a marvellous job.They have prevented a collapse of the global economy, by providing on massivescale liquidity to the banking system and by a very loose monetary policy. Thatwas fine and dandy, but after a certain moment they started with so-called unconventionalmonetary policies. The main argument for central banks to start with thesepolicies (forward guidance and broadly-based, large scale Quantitative Easing)was the danger of deflation, at a moment the policy rate approached the zerobound. In thiscontext it is quite popular to refer to Japan. The longperiod of deflation in that country resulted in stagnation in the real economy.That is at least what many people think.

With respect to theperformance of the Japanese economy it is necessary to take into accountdemographics. “Given Japan’s unique demographics per capita gdp is equally,ifnot more relevant. On that basis Japan’s economy slowed markedly in the1990’s. But between 2000 and 2013 cumulative per capita gdp growth was arespectable 10% compared with 12% for the US”. The Japanese consumption pricelevel end 2014 was roughly the same (2% higher) as in the beginning of thenineties of the last century. During that period, inflation had its ups anddowns, within a narrow band, and was more often negative than positive, butthere was never real deflation. Deflation, negative inflation can indeed bedangerous if it is the (potential) beginning of a downward price-wage spiral aswe have seen in the Great Depression. Then quick, decisive action is required.But our economies and societies are different from those in the 30s of lastcentury. An interesting case is Greece. It took a 25% fall in GDP since 2008before inflation entered negative territory (-1,7% in 2013 and -2,6% in 2014).In 2014, the year with the greatest negative inflation, real gdp growthhesitantly started to recover.

Without denying that thepresent low inflation (core inflation in Europe fluctuates for some timealready around 1%) should also be seen in the context of low demand for avery long period, other factors seem to play an important role such as theaging of our populations (affecting the savings behaviour, but also wages), theglobalisation process (resulting in pressure on import prices), andtechnological developments (e.g. increased competition via the internet,cheaper production methods, etc.etc.). Technological developments might alsohave weakened the bargaining power of labour. In some area's we have seenspectacular drops in prices. It may well be that we are facing - worldwide - along (er) period of low inflation. Fighting this low inflation environment bysticking under all circumstances to a fixed (close-to-2%) target can onlythrough an ever looser monetary policy and will eventually - via bubbles incertain sectors of the economy - turn into a new financial crisis or inflation.Let me quote a statement of Herve Hanoun (2014), the then Deputy GeneralManager of the BIS: "In this sense, continued unconventional monetarypolicy, can buy more stability now, but at a price of lower average growth - bydamaging the supply side of the economy - and greater financial instability inthe future". And let me in this context also refer to a remark made in aspeech a year earlier by Caruana, the General manager of the BIS: "If amedicine does not work as expected, it is not necessarily because the dosagewas too low. Maybe instead the overall treatment, and the role of the medicinewithin it, should be reconsidered. Most likely something else is needed”.

More flexibility seems needed

Therefore, in order not toswim into the trap of too loose a monetary policy for too long a period,central banks would be wise not to commit themselves too strongly to a specificinflation target. They should not make deflation kind of a bogeyman (MartyFeldstein). Here I have especially in mind the Bank of Japan and the EuropeanCentral Bank. ( Draghi: "Inflation should be at a sustainable path closeto 2%”; “This is a legal obligation”). To my mind a better approach would be tointroduce more flexibility by the introduction of a bandwidth for the inflationtarget of the central bank. More flexibility, especially downwards, would domore justice to the fact that we do not fully understand what is happening withrespect to price developments and might be confronted, for a relatively longperiod, with low or even negative inflation rates without any danger for adownwards deflationary spiral. Contrary to the ECB’s self-imposedinterpretation of price stability, the FED has more flexibility due to its dualmandate. The Japanese Central Bank, however, feels very strong about a specificinflation target.

Introducing some flexibilitywith respect to the inflation target seems to me the more sensible because ofthe limited effectiveness of ultra loose monetary policies. All studies knownto me illustrate that, depending of course on the country involved and theconditions at the moment of the start of such a policy, you need enormousamounts to get only a limited impact on inflation and growth. In Europe therecovery started already in the 2nd quarter of 2013, 2 years before QE, Theimplication of out-of-scale monetary policy operations is the danger of seriousside effects. One of them is that financial markets become detached fromeconomic reality. Linked to that is that central banks become the prisoner offinancial markets, as they might become also the prisoner of fiscal authoritiesthat can't afford higher interest rates. Unprecedented central bank policies,aimed at keeping interest rates as, low as possible, even negative, are drivingup asset prices: bonds, stocks, paintings, real estate. It brought an analystof Citi’s research department to the sigh: “Please don’t buy so many bonds, MrCentral Banker”. There are so many distortions nowadays in financial markets,that it has become almost impossible to assess the size of the risks: swapspreads are distorted, the yield curve can’t be used anymore as an indicator offuture economic developments, traditional volatility indicators have becomeuseless, etc. We are living in a period of broken indicators, which is risky.

In Europe it is the ECB thathas kept alive the very weak countries. It succeeded in pushing interest ratesfurther downwards and in reducing spreads between strong and weak countries. Thiswas crucial for the survival of the weak countries. But such a policy cannot goon forever, taking into account the side effects and growing exit-problems. Atits June meeting the ECB closed the door for further rate reductions and itwill, highly likely, run down its unconventional policies as of/ in the courseof next year. Therefore, the ECB is at a crossroads, but even more so Europe,because without the support of the ECB the other authorities should finallydeal with the still existing and even growing divergences.

CONCLUSION

The world is changingrapidly. The integration of new, big countries (China, India) in the worldeconomy has an enormous impact on all players. This is because of the size ofthese new entrants and the speed of the process. Not everybody is enough awareof the consequences and it remains to be seen whether we are sufficientlyprepared for this brave new world. The European project is, to some extent, ananswer to the new circumstances. It is a unique experiment of countries givingup, step-by-step, part of their sovereignty to better cope with tomorrow'sworld. It is a process with many hick ups. Brexit is such a hick up and we willsee more developments endangering the process. That said enormous progress hasbeen made, in many areas. The British will experience, during thedisentanglement process, how much integrated they already were and how muchthey are going to loose. Part of the progress made in Europe shows up inthe creation of the monetary union. Europe survived the financial crisis withthe help of its newly created central bank. There is no doubt in my mind as tothat. Meanwhile the divergences between the countries remained or became evenlarger. The authorities should address these divergences and not overburden theECB. But the central banks themselves - in Europe and elsewhere - shouldrealize that, from a risk management point of view, they also have aresponsibility and that is to say: "This is where it stops. Now thepotential side-effects become too large”.(完)

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