The New EU Members on the Verge of Disaster: What to Do?
The long lasting, but externally financed boom in the new EU countries has collapsed under the impacts of the global financial crisis. The countries’ fiscal and monetary authorizes do not seem to be able to effectively resist – a deep crisis is under way. The situation is particularly dramatic in the Baltic countries, where the hands of the monetary authority are institutionally tied, and an expansionary fiscal policy would trigger off speculative attacks on the exchange rate. Neither the maintaining of the currency board arrangement nor an ‘emergency access’ to the Euro zone would help. The other non-Euro members of the Union still aim to adopt the Euro in the next future and, thus, are reluctant to give up the Maastricht criteria. The Euro countries Slovakia and Slovenia might face a major deterioration of their credit rating if governments would attempt to increase fiscal deficits. All in all, two problems are to be solved: first, the external provision of liquidity to their economies and, second, an approach that anchors policies in the countries against economic nationalism, which is a beggar-thy-neighbor policy. We propose a combination of a reformed exchange rate mechanism with a stability and solidarity fund for all countries. The former would help to avoid too strong depreciations and the latter would provide liquidity to stabilize the exchange rate and the entire economy.