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Toward a Fiscal Union for the Euro Area (Allard et al.)

Toward a Fiscal Union for the Euro Area by Céline Allard, Petya Koeva Brooks, John C. Bluedorn, Fabian Bornhorst, Katharine Christopherson, Franziska Ohnsorge, Tigran Poghosyan, and an IMF Staff Team published by IMF (9/2013).

The crisis has exposed a critical gap in EMU: the capacity for country-level shocks, whether exogenous or home-grown, to spread across the euro area, calling into question the viability of the common currency. This paper explores the role that deeper fiscal integration can play in correcting architectural weaknesses in the system, reducing the incidence and severity of future crises and lending long-term credibility to the crisis measures in train. The Europeans have already taken important measures to improve economic and fiscal governance and steps to further fiscal integration have been proposed (Box 1). Country-level adjustment, euro area wide support via the ESM/EFSF and the OMT backstop, and progress toward a banking union are also substantial achievements, notwithstanding the fact that cross-border fiscal oversight and transfers raise difficult political issues. Going forward, the argument is that a clearer ex ante approach to fiscal discipline and transfers will further strengthen the architecture of EMU, ensuring the stability of the euro area. This paper complements a companion paper that investigates the role of a banking union for the euro area (IMF, 2013a).

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