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Workshop organised by the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Commission

Achieving and safeguarding sound fiscal positions
Brussels, 30 November 2007

The Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) of the European Commission is organising a one-day workshop on 30 November 2007 in Brussels. The workshop aims at improving the understanding of the determinants and tools of two inter-related aspects of fiscal policy: achieving and safeguarding sound fiscal positions. The topic is particularly relevant for the effective implementation of the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) which requires Member States to achieve and maintain medium-term budgetary objectives (MTOs) that pursue a triple aim: (i) make rapid progress towards long-term sustainability of public finances; (ii) safeguard against the risk of breaching the 3% of GDP threshold of the Treaty; (iii) create room for manoeuvre for automatic stabilisers to play over the cycle. Member States are also required to avoid pro-cyclical fiscal policies and to use economic good times to step up the adjustment towards the MTOs. The effective implementation of the preventive arm of the SGP is becoming even more relevant now that most of the EU Member States will no longer be in excessive deficit.

The economic literature has provided abundant analysis and arguments on the necessity of sound budgetary positions for both a stable economic development and the sustainability of public finances. It has provided equally abundant evidence that in practice fiscal policy tends to have a deficit bias and generally follows a pro instead of a counter-cyclical pattern. Against this background, the attention of academic economists and policy makers has increasingly focussed on exploring ways to avoid fiscal profligacy.

Despite the impressive fiscal retrenchment programmes implemented by some Member States in the run up to the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and also taking into account the recent progress in correcting excessive deficits, the scope for further fiscal consolidation and for strengthening arrangements that help safeguard sound fiscal positions has not vanished. First, the impending budgetary effects of ageing population require Member States to create the necessary room in their budgets so as to address the increasing weight of age-related expenditures. Second, based on recent experience there is a tendency to spend windfalls during upturns giving rise to a pro-cyclical fiscal stance a reduced room for manoeuvre in subsequent downturns.

With a view to identifying the determinants and tools of lasting fiscal adjustment as well as of safeguarding sound fiscal positions over the cycle, contributions addressing the following set of questions will receive priority in the selection process:

  1. What are the lessons from episodes of successful fiscal consolidation? What can be learned from the experiences of the past? What are the links between fiscal consolidation and structural reforms? Are they mutually reinforcing?
  2. Which are the political and institutional settings that allow an effective implementation of budgetary plans? Which elements of the budgetary process are particularly conducive to stick to budgetary plans? What is the role of medium-term budgetary frameworks in promoting fiscal adjustment and sound fiscal positions?
  3. Which arrangements provide the right incentives to save windfalls of economic good times and avoid pro-cyclical policies?

The workshop will include six to eight presentations, followed by the comments of the several appointed discussants and a general exchange of views among the participants of the workshop. We invite the submission of abstracts (one to two pages) or preliminary papers related to the above mentioned issues. Contributions should be submitted no later than 20 June 2007 to the workshop's dedicated mailbox. The selection procedure is expected to be completed by the end of June/early July.

The selection of papers will be based on the following criteria:

  • scientific standard;
  • value to policymaking;
  • originality;
  • potential to form the basis of a fruitful exchange among the workshop participants.

We are covering travel expenses according to European Commission rules (economy class plane tickets, first class train tickets) and accommodation for all contributors and discussants. Contributions from academia will also receive a fee of € 4.000,00 according to contract rules.

Conditional on the quality, we intend to publish the papers presented in a volume collecting the workshop proceedings.

For further information please contact Marko Mrsnik or Martin Larch via the workshop's dedicated mailbox.

Call for papers English textpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (pdf file 28 kb)


Conference on Public Finances in the EU

The Commission is organising a major academic conference on public finances in the EU, planned for March 2008 in Brussels.

The focus of the conference is on the economic aspects of EU budgetary spending and financing. The conference will also cover the relevant political economy issues including the institutional framework. The aim is to provide pertinent research that may be useful for the Commission in the preparation of a review of the EU budget.

The present framework of public finances in the EU has been established by the multi-annual Financial Perspective, the medium-term financial framework through which the EU plans its expenditure. Since its introduction for the period 1988-1992, the Financial Perspective has changed considerably. During this period, the EU itself has also changed with the realisation of the Single Market, the introduction of the Single Currency and enlargement from 12 to 27 Member States.

The perspective of the conference will be the long-run development of the public finances in the EU.

The conference is open to both theoretical and empirical submissions. An indicative set of issues includes:

  • Main trends and factors affecting EU policy priorities and the role of the EU budget in serving these
  • Assignment of policy responsibilities – between the EU, national, regional and local levels
  • The financing of the EU budget, including alternative designs of possible EU taxes
  • Decision making on the EU budget
  • Design of delivery and control systems, including evidence from best practices, to secure effectiveness and efficiency

Deadline for submission 15 June 2007

Interested contributors are invited to submit proposals. We accept full papers or extended summaries as submissions before June 15, 2007. We will communicate our decision by July 15, 2007. Final version of the papers should be available some weeks before the conference.

Further information

For additional information, please use the dedicated mailbox for this call for papers to contact us, Mr. Tassos Belessiotis or Mr. Vitor Gaspar.

Call for papers English textpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (pdf file 90 kb)


Call for essays
EMU@10 years

On 1 January 2009, it will be ten years since the move to the third and final stage of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the launch of the euro. To mark this important anniversary, the European Commission is undertaking a strategic review of EMU after 10 years. In view of the breadth and exceptional nature of this review, the Commission will invite a number of the world's leading economists to write essays which provide a deep and original insight into the past, present and future of EMU.

Authors will be required to make up to a maximum of three trips (including a final workshop) to the European Commission's Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs in Brussels to discuss their work in progress and to present a full draft of their essays in Autumn 2007. The final essays, which should be about 15,000 words in length, will be considered for publication in a high-profile, edited volume to be issued in conjunction with the Commission's strategic review of EMU after 10 years.

Each essay will tackle one of the topics listed below. A detailed description of each topic, including a summary of specific questions to be addressed, can be found in the attached documents.

  1. Evaluating the euro-area's policy mix English textpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (pdf file 80 kb)
  2. The impact of the euro on growth and employment English textpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (pdf file 90 kb)
  3. A long-term perspective on the euro English textpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (pdf file 77 kb)
  4. Financial market integration under EMU English textpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (pdf file 81 kb)
  5. EMU's decentralised system of fiscal policy English textpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (pdf file 78 kb)
  6. Taxation policy in EMU English textpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (pdf file 77 kb)
  7. Assessing the stabilising role and adjustment capacity of governments in EMU English textpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (pdf file 92 kb)
  8. Spillover effects across countries in the euro area – the effects of reforms in goods and services markets on adjustment English textpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (pdf file 81 kb)
  9. Euro-area enlargement and euro adoption strategies English textpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (pdf file 80 kb)
  10. The international role of the euro English textpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (pdf file 86 kb)
  11. The euro's impact on international stability and volatility English textpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (pdf file 80 kb)
  12. Economic governance in an enlarging euro area English textpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (pdf file 81 kb)
  13. Monetary unification in Europe and the theory of optimum currency areas English textpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (pdf file 28 kb)

Selection criteria

The Commission invites submissions of essay outlines. Essays shall deal with no more than one of the thirteen topics list above. Essays can be co-authored but a person can be contracted to work on no more than one essay either as sole author or co-author. The essays will be original work created in response to this call for essays. A selection committee will be set up to evaluate valid submissions on the basis of the following criteria.

  1. The clarity of the submission as assessed by the precision with which it (i) explains how the topic will be addressed, (ii) discusses the theoretical and empirical techniques that will be used to analyse specific issues, and (iii) explains the policy relevance of this analysis.
  2. The quality of the submission as measured by its potential to provide robust economic analysis that offers value-added vis-à-vis the existing academic literature on EMU and the economic governance of the euro area.
  3. The high-standing of the author/co-authors as demonstrated by academic excellence, a track record of publishing path-breaking research on issues relating to EMU in leading, peer-reviewed journals. To facilitate this assessment, the submission should include an up-to-date curriculum vitae for the author/co-authors.

Deadline for submission of essay outlines for topics 1 to 12: 10 May 2007

Interested parties should submit their essay outlines (topics 1 to 12) and curriculum vitae electronically by 10 May, 2007. Authors of the selected essays will be informed in due time of acceptance.

Further information

A set fee of €6,000 will be paid for each essay irrespective of whether they are authored or co-authored. In addition, the Commission will cover the travel and accommodation (hotel and breakfast) costs incurred while attending meetings at the European Commission's Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs in Brussels in line with the contract rules. All payments will be made in accordance with a service contract which must be signed before work on the essay begins.

For further information please contact us, Mr. Joost Kuhlmann or Ms. Mary McCarthy.

Deadline for submission of essay outline for topics 13: 11 May 2007

Interested parties should submit their essay outline for topic 13 and curriculum vitae electronically by 11 May, 2007. Authors of the selected essay outline will be informed in due time of acceptance.

Further information

A set fee of €6,000 will be paid for the essay irrespective of whether it is authored or co-authored. In addition, the Commission will cover the travel and accommodation (hotel and breakfast) costs incurred while attending meetings at the European Commission in Brussels in line with the contract rules. All payments will be made in accordance with a service contract which must be signed before work on the essay begins.

For further information on topic 13, please use the dedicated mailbox to contact Mr. Tassos Belessiotis (Bureau of European Policy Advisers).


The 2007 DG ECFIN Annual Research Conference.
Growth and income distribution in an integrated Europe: Does EMU make a difference?

Keynote speakers:
Tony Atkinson, Oxford University
Giuseppe Bertola, University of Turin
Cecilia Garcia-Peñalosa, CNRS and GREQAM, Marseille
Robert J. Gordon, Northwestern University

For this conference, we invite submissions of outlines of papers or preliminary papers. Submissions should demonstrate truly original work, be of high quality and of relevance to the conference themes. In addition, they should have the potential to form the basis of a fruitful exchange among the participants at the conference.

Deadline for submission 27 April
Your submission should be sent electronically by 27 April, 2007. Authors of the selected papers will be informed in due time of acceptance.

Further information
We cover the travel costs of presenters of papers according to Commission rules (economy class air/first class train fare) in addition to a per diem to cover accommodation plus a fee of € 3000.- in line with contract rules. We intend to publish the papers presented at the conference in the DG ECFIN working paper series Economic Papers.

For further information please contact us, Mr. Lars Jonung, Mr. Jarmo Kontulainen, or Mrs Mary McCarthy.

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