The crisis has had a deep impact on Europe's growth trajectory and on macroeconomic stability. It has forced a rethink of the architecture of EMU that has already led to a substantial overhaul of policies in a broad range of areas. Serious challenges remain, however, and the overhaul remains unfinished business.
Tensions on financial markets have not disappeared and, after a long period of steady integration, fragmentation forces have resurfaced on some market segments. Growth divergences in Europe have reached unprecedented levels with many Member States facing protracted and painful adjustment processes. Charting a way out of the crisis requires tackling short-term pressures on growth from budgetary consolidation and private sector deleveraging but also dealing with the more medium-term growth challenges posed by ageing and intensifying global competition. It also requires designing policies that take equity considerations into account so as to avoid the burden of adjustment being distributed in a socially unacceptable way.
Against this background, the European Commission's Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) has launched a new initiative to strengthen its ties to academia and to the economic research community to stimulate analysis and economic policy debate on highly pertinent economic challenges. The overarching ambition has been to establish a forum to provide and discuss ideas and analyses in a relatively informal setting and feed a forward-looking debate on EU economic policies and governance. For this purpose, DG ECFIN has awarded 16 "Non-resident Fellowships", running over a period of 9 months, to senior scholars aiming to analyse specific topics related to "The Future of EMU" and "Economic Growth Perspectives for Europe". The task of the Fellows was to prepare an essay on a chosen theme, and to be available for consultation and discussion, including participation in two meetings/workshops, one in November 2012, to take stock of research progress and to debate new ideas and insights. The Fellows have been selected following a tendering procedure.
In April 2013 the European Commission published the collection of essays by the Fellows in its Economic papers series. Taken in their entirety, the essays constitute one of the largest systematic research efforts on EMU in recent years, while individually they shed light on many highly pertinent long-term policy questions that short-term analysis rarely touches upon. Summary overviews of the papers on 'Economic growth perspectives for Europe' and 'The future of EMU' can be found in the corresponding ECFIN Policy briefs.