Brexit and The European Union Dissertation

Brexit and The European Union

The year 2016 is going to be remembered for long years to go for the historical term “Brexit” that meant Britain exiting from European Union. This possibility aroused since 2007, under the article 50 of treaty of European Union under European states. The final exit decision took place in June 2016 under the referendum where the votes in favor of leaving EU were 51.9%. Though there were many reasons that lead to Brexit, but some of the economic aspects are worth mentioning.

The people of Britain wanted self government system back that had existed hundreds of years ago. There were certain reasons that British citizens wanted to exit from European Union and thus held general elections to get rid of the government. The main issue behind this exit decision was that being under European Union made Britain feel like being ruled by a foreign power where they have no rights of taking their own decisions (Dagnis Jensen and Snaith, 2016). One of the key economic impacts is that Britain had been facing trade barriers under the European Union that could be well managed by this exit decision. The market prices for EU are much higher than the world market prices and that has been affecting the economy of Britain in terms that the country involved in producing more of the products that were worst and less of those it was best in producing. Furthermore this also led the customers to pay higher amounts due to tariff and trade policies of EU and thus the exit from it was the much significant decision (Weiler, 2015).

Brexit European Union
Brexit European Union

Figure 1: Income inequality in UK

Figure 1 above describes one of the key economic reasons why Britain chose to leave the European Union is inequality in Income. It describes that though the overall European economy was doing well and had larger benefits and shares, still these benefits are not being felt by population in an even and justified manner.

After this exit, the barriers both tariff and non- tariff on trade could be removed from UK that were being imposed upon by EU till now. This will in turn benefit the customers and raise their living standards due to larger decrease in import prices. In contrast to this there are certain arguments against this decision of exit of Britain from EU (Boulanger and Philippidis, 2015). The key UK producers could determine that the prices that they would get in the free market would be different they used to get inside EU, in fact it would be lesser.

The products they sell outside are no different they sell inside EU but the protection of customs union premium provided by EU would be lost that would affect these producers. It can be concluded from the above statements that the customers would be the people in benefit from this exit decision and also those firms that are willing to buy the products at the world prices, whereas the producers within the union would be disheartened as they would have to lose their share of premium under the European Union. There are further arguments describing that after Brexit, UK may opt to trade under World Trade Organization (WTO) policies (Dhingra, Ottaviano, Sampson and Reenen, 2016). In such case it would not be able to get benefits of tariff free trade as it had, being under the membership of EU. Further this would also support the companies in halting the inflow of less skilled workers from EU. It would also provide relaxation in migration policies and provide ease to the highly skilled immigrants from EU and non- EU countries to work.

Another economic perspective towards this decision of Britain is the gain that the customers and firms would have while balancing the resources and allotting them to industries which are efficient and removing from that are less or inefficient (Oliver, 2016). The key economists of the country also estimate the gain in trade of Britain after this exit to 4% rise in GDP. Despite of this there are arguments with risks of loss in job and foreign direct investment. It has been argued that the foreign investments would be reduced but it has neglected the fact that FDI is just due to better returns in foreign capital and thus the countries can invest, just the sectors would change where there are free trade policies. Further with the investments in new sectors, the jobs will also arise in those, thereby fulfilling the loss of jobs created in the European Union protected sectors.

After the result of referendum on Britain exiting EU, many economic, political and financial impacts are most likely to be seen. It would be not new and surprising to know that after the decision, London is to face a number of financial issues that would further have an impact on overall economy of the country (MacShane, 2015). The very first impact that could be seen in London would be loss of jobs. In making the decision of exit from the European Union, the future of the city of London has been one of the key concerns.

The government of London will have to involve in effective strategy formulation to manage the possible financial and economic effects of this referendum. There are possibilities of clash in market with the change in currency values that will have an overall impact over London and its market. However, it is being argued that the city will remain as the key financial centre of the world and will be successful in managing the “Brexit” situation as it has already undergone such crisis situations during the world wars too (Barrett and et.al, 2015). While London was within the European Union, it had been enjoying the title of world’s important financial centers which is now likely to get affected by various policies and regulatory aspects.

There are number of companies that have already announced that with this decision of exiting from the European Union, they would be moving their employees out of London. J.P. Morgan also in this context said that it would be relocating around 4000 of its employees out of Europe. There are many banks outside the nation, like from US that have been trading in London as to escape from the restrictions that exist outside the European markets (Swinbank, 2016).

Similarly with the news of Brexit, Deutsche Bank also said that it is going to relocate its employees. The effects of Brexit decision are to be studied for London, as it is not only the financial centre of Europe but has topped the list of world’s best city to do business due to fewer barriers. Therefore this decision will definitely be affecting its title and the overall business economy. There are many businesses dominating in London like banking, mortgage brokers, real estate firms and the overall financial industry that is much likely to be affected with this referendum. Furthermore, there are cities in EU like Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Dublin that would be most benefited with this change and have prospective of becoming the new London for the world markets (Springford and Whyte, 2014). The overall situation can also be understood with the concept of Passporting with context to EU that describes that all the European Union based financial institutions can sell their services without getting the approval of regulator.

Further after the Brexit, every such firm would need to get regulatory approvals on local basis that is a key factor driving their decision to move their business out of London. Passporting is one of the key features that have led to the success of the banking industry with EU nations due to ease of cross border transactions and investments. After this decision, London would need to develop a new regulator that would not only require cost but would also involve authentication to develop trust among the various business firms to rely upon (Danielsson, James, Valenzuela and Zer, 2014). Further authorization of new regulators would also take considerable time to establish itself that will bring a change in the overall financial and economic status for London for its exiting decision from the European Union.

There are various risks associated with all the firms working in UK that would be affected with the decision of Britain exiting the European Union. The city like London have been the financial hub of UK that would be the most affected area after the referendum result in Britain exiting the European Union. Most of the firms that are likely to be affected by this decision would be the financial institutions, banks, real estate firms, etc. Before this referendum’s result, there are many companies that have already announced their changing business plans and strategies for their firms in Britain, if the country was to leave EU (Virasami, 2016). Most of the banks and companies are already in need to leave UK, and shift their operations to other country under the European Union states. This is due to the ease of business and lesser trade barriers and tariffs under the European Union policies that might have a larger economic and financial impact on every business.

Companies like Vodafone have warned UK that it would be shifting its headquarters from London to some other country if it exited the European Union. On the same track, one of the biggest lenders of Britain, Lloyd’s Banking group had made plans to sell out the shares of the taxpayers that are prone to be affected once the decision is being made. Furthermore companies like Virgin group have plans to cut down around 3000 jobs with the Brexit. Apart from this there are companies that have put their future export and investment plans on hold after the final decision being announced. Also the lending firms have cut short their property purchasing in London (Helm, 2016).

The risks associated with the decision of Britain exiting EU are not countable or measurable but could be understood in terms of financial and economic losses. Large numbers of firms are to face the loss in market share and affect the availability of jobs as well as personnel. The risks for the companies also involve lowered profits for the firms and control over the personnel. This decision is also likely to affect the political and social scenario of the country. Immigration is a problem that is being faced by the nation and more than half of the population is immigrant of some other place. However, with this decision, the immigrants would move again in search of better opportunities and jobs. Also as studied above, after exiting EU, the regulatory approvals would become more difficult and troublesome for the firms to continue in the same way as it existed before. Though this decision is favorable for customers and buyers but producers and investors are the ones that are most likely to be affected (Williams, 2016).

The final decision of Britain exiting the European Union would completely reform the financial services industry of the country. It has been evident that the city of London had been the largest centre of financial investments in the complete European Union and has been attracting large number of banks and financial service providers. It will thus be required for UK to formulate effective polices and plans to retain all its existing business firms and develop regulatory authorities to manage the approvals after exiting from EU (Palmer, 2016).

With the step towards taking the decision of exit from EU, there are many threats and risks associated with Brexit. There are many uncertainties and challenges that British firms have to possibly face after this decision. After this, UK will have to lose its membership of European Economic Area, European Free Trade association etc. The committee handling risks have been analyzing potential risks and have coordinating to make sure they have better plans to deal with short term and long term risks. There are companies like British gas Insurance that may not have direct potential impact through Brexit but if their parent company Centrica is impacted then they might also face risks for which they need proper mitigation approaches.

Communication

There are companies that are getting involved in improving communication among the different managerial levels. They have plans to ensure each and every message and update over the Brexit issue and let all the people all over the organization know about it on consistent basis (MacShane, 2015).

Stakeholders

The risk managers have also plans to keep their stakeholders assured and manage them cautiously. They too are to be updated timely about their losses or gains with shareholdings in the firms. Also the stakeholders must have clarity of situation and the company must not make fake promises to them.

Change Management

This is one of the most important aspects to be considered in risk management approach. The firms and its employees must be completely ready to accept the possible changes that are to occur if UK leaves EU. There would be lot of changes in legal, economic and political scenario that would have an overall impact on the complete economy. These impacts could be seen not only for few days or months but for years (Springford and Whyte, 2014). Thus the managers must be aware about the next steps they are to take up for managing the changed scenario of UK after leaving the membership of EU.

There are possibilities that if Britain exits EU, there will be migration, attrition, policy changes and loss of shareholders that will change the complete business scenario for the country. Also the legal and authorizing business approvals would have to be established in a completely new form that would need the firms that intent to continue with UK, to manage the upcoming challenges.

There are many firms that have announced that they would be shifting their operations partially or fully to some other country that is an EU member state (Oliver, 2016). This is an approach that many firms have adopted in order to ensure that they do not face extreme losses or trade barriers.

It has been evident that EU states have benefits of free trade with least barriers but this would not be the situation if UK exits this membership. It has been a fact that the jobs in Britain are being safeguarded by EU as it has been a market centre for more than 500 million customers and it is Britain whose membership with EU has been the most attracting factor for FDI.

However this decision of Britain had led the firms to hire new people called effective troubleshooters that would help them in dealing with such situation after Brexit. The demand of lawyers, consultants, financial advisors and experts in the country has increased with this news flowing around for the sake of safeguarding the business from the post effects of this decision (Weiler, 2015). The organizations have started working on the reframing of trade agreements, funding problems and their solutions, staffing concerns, trade barriers and plans to deal with them. Though EU had provided free trade but the extreme interference of its policies in trade and profit sharing for the firms had made Britain to take such decision. Thus there are many firms that are still in support of this decision of Brexit, despite of the fact that this can be a potential threat to their business and funding requirements.

References

Barrett, A. and et.al, 2015. Scoping the possible economic implications of Brexit on Ireland. ESRI Research Series48.

Boulanger, P. and Philippidis, G., 2015. The End of a Romance? A Note on the Quantitative Impacts of a ‘Brexit’ from the European Union. Journal of Agricultural Economics66(3), pp.832-842.

Dagnis Jensen, M. and Snaith, H., 2016. When politics prevails: the political economy of a Brexit. Journal of European Public Policy, pp.1-9.

Danielsson, J., James, K., Valenzuela, M. and Zer, I., 2014. Model risk and the implications for risk management, macroprudential policy, and financial regulations. VoxEU. org8.

Dhingra, S., Ottaviano, G.I., Sampson, T. and Reenen, J.V., 2016. The consequences of Brexit for UK trade and living standards.

Helm, T., 2016. Brexit donor’s company spells out risks of quitting EU.

MacShane, D., 2015. Brexit: How Britain Will Leave Europe. IB Tauris.

Oliver, T., 2016. European and international views of Brexit. Journal of European Public Policy, pp.1-8.

Palmer, K., 2016. How businesses have reacted to Brexit so far.

Springford, J. and Whyte, P., 2014. The consequences of Brexit for the City of London. Centre for European Reform.

Swinbank, A., 2016. Brexit or Bremain? Future Options for UK Agricultural Policy and the CAP. EuroChoices15(2), pp.5-10.

Virasami, J.H., 2016. Brexit referendum: in-out, in-out, shake it all about.ROAR9, p.2016.

Weiler, J.H., 2015. Brexit: No Happy Endings; The EJIL Annual Foreword; EJIL on your iPad!!!; Vital Statistics; ICON. S Conference. European journal of international law= Journal europeen de droit international26(1), pp.1-7.

Williams, S., 2016. Brexit: What Companies Should Do Next.

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European Union Regional Economics

The European Union Model of Regional Economics

This paper examines the European Union economic model as an example of a regional integration for economic prospects in the world. Since 1972, twelve nations of Europe namely, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain co-operated economically under the treaty of European Economic Commission, EEC (Bartolini). However, the Union under examination in this paper came into effect on July 1987 when the single European Act came into force, thereby amending the founding treaties to cope with the transition into a single market. For a longer time, the European Union (EU) remains the most developed model in the regional integration examples. However, lately, severe economic crisis continue to shake the very foundation upon which the union stands. From debt crisis to refugee crisis, the challenges seem so great for some of the nation members to bear. Consequently, this now puts into question the economic benefits that accrue from the integration process (Hix and Høyland).

The lack of logical solutions to the EU’s frequent crisis ideally calls into question the very steadfastness of the union. The recent financial crisis that threatened Greece to decamp from the European Union reveals the institutional and structural cracks within the Eurozone. Two other countries of the union namely, Spain and Italy, now appear posed to go the Greece way. The economic decline of the EU comes in the wake of a new global economic order. Under this dispensation, there is now economic decline of the two world’s economic powerhouses, the United States of America (USA), and the European Union, but the rise in Asian and African economies. These economic realignments already threaten the social cohesion, and both the economic and political stability of the Eurozone (Kelegama 110-131). In the wake of these crises, the European Union’s status as the viable model of regional economics now is subject to threat. In the event that the European Union recovers from the crises that are threatening to tear it apart, it will emerge even stronger, and continue its role as the global leading model of regional integration.

The European Union Model Insights

The genesis of EU’s integration has its roots in the economic hardships of the early 1950s, following the conclusion of World War II. The success of the European Union as an economic and political conglomerate lies in a number of far reaching principles. First, the continent of Europe boasts of a number of visionary leaders. Among these are Germany’s Konrad Adenauer, and France’s Robert Schuman. The two leaders conceived a political alliance that operated on communal basis, and deviated from the traditional political model whose basis was the balance of power ((Bartolini). The United States’ support played a pivotal role at its conception was also crucial in the early years. Second, the Franco-German partnership was crucial in the integration process. For years, Berlin and Paris continue to be the engine of European amalgamation. Thirdly, the European political elite always share a common vision of sovereignty. This is instrumental in the common institutions that are strong, and legally binding on matters integration. Finally, Europeans share solidarity with their leaders on consensus approach based on tolerance. In this regard, the European decision makers try their best not isolate a member country (Bartolini. This approach saw Greece retain its membership in the wake of its recent economic crisis. The tolerance of policy makers in Europe encompasses an all-inclusive approach when dealing with a member nation. The basis of decisions, often, is on consensus, and political goodwill to offer colossal financial support to poorer member nations to take their rightful place in the union.

The four principles that continue to guide the European Union in crises, enables it to emerge stronger than ever whenever similar situations arise. This enables the union to ward off crises more easily. Some of the historical challenges that the EU warded off in the past include new treaties referendum failures. A case in hand is that of Ireland’s Lisbon Treaty in the year 2008 as well as the French and Dutch constitutional treaty. In each case, a referendum threw out each of the treaty. Another is the case of Charles de Gaulle who used “empty chair” tactic to withdraw his compatriots’ representation the political bodies of the union whenever these introduced the famed qualified majority voting (QMV). Charles de Gaulle ruled French during the 1958 to 1969 period (Dinan).

A more recent development involved the EU’s adoption of the flexible approach that resulted in a Europe divided into multiple layers of integration. However, not all the countries of Europe enjoy the Eurozone status. For instance, the United Kingdom trades in the Eurozone courtesy of the Schengen passport-free agreement. UK, however, continues to use the Sterling Pound as its currency. The EU allowed this arrangement to give leeway to Euro-sceptic nations to renege on certain obligations guarded by the union treaty (Volkens). Nonetheless, the EU remains committed to its core mandate that allows it the freedom to share sovereignty with any committed nation within the continent, while still committed to the values of strong common institutions.

Regional Groupings in Other Parts of the World

Other regions of the world continue to seek regional integration to push forward a common agenda. Notable here include associations such as the African Union (AU), the Mercosur of South America, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). However, nothing in their progress mirrors the EU’s success. Amongst these the ASEAN model is second to in EU in performance. Perhaps this follows their efforts that saw them send delegations in a number of times to Europe to seek the European Union’s experiences from Brussels. However, throughout its existence, the ASEAN shows no interest in sharing sovereignty, and therefore, continues to be an inter-governmental body (Kelegama 110-131). The same applies for the other bodies mentioned above. Consequently, the EU remains the world’s most successful conglomerate of nations in terms of economic and political cooperation. Therefore, the union remains the globe’s best success story in integration.

Pronouncements on closer cooperation continue to dominate the political scenes in Africa, Latin America, South America, Asia, and the Middle East, but none of the declarations of these groupings matches the EU’s spirit of cooperation, integration, and political goodwill (Kelegama 110-131). Their pronouncements over time remains mere rhetorical expressions, for after these declaration are not matched with equal seriousness in action.

The EU’s success story arises from historical reconciliation over time. This is a vital factor if any political entity wishes to develop the matching good will, and step into the world of cooperation and, eventually, integration. The engine of EU’s success story rests on the historical frequent reconciliation of two Europe’s decision makers – Germany and France (Bartolini). Years of political resilience of the leaders of these two nations, often provide the fodder needed to take reconciliation, and cooperation forward. In sharp contrast, no other regional body, matches the EU’s ambitious efforts when it comes to political goodwill. For instance, in the East Asia case, unless Japan and China show similar commitment, there will never be a genuine integration, and the ASEAN model will always lag behind the European Union (Kelegama 110-131).

Similar reconciliation must also exist between Korea, and Japan. The mistrusts in political leaderships witnessed in East Asia is rife all over the world. Issues remain unsolved because a deeply lingering suspicion by the political players of the day. For instance, when one discusses this, India and Pakistan comes to mind. So is Argentina and Brazil, Iran and Saudi Arabia, and so on. The European Union model shows that cooperation, and integration is only possible after historical reconciliation amongst the warring nations. It only then that they can proceed gradually into the necessary steps crucial for creating a regional community. After this, the regional community can go a step further and create a customs union, a free-trade area, a common passport, a single market, a common foreign-policy, and eventually a common currency (Kelegama 110-131).
The Current State of the EU

The European Union stands tall as a secure, prosperous, and a safe haven in comparison to other regional bodies of this world. Following its recent economic turmoil, however, the European Union needs to tackle its perennial major challenges, if needs to remain a global player and influencer worth emulating. It needs to tackle these challenges now with urgency, and determination. Only then will the European Union remain the world’s leading model of cooperation, integration, and economic union. However, the European Union’s current problems arise from a number of factors. First, the European Union experiences a rapid expansion and integration. The number of member states currently stand at 28. This is in contract to only 12 members in 1972. This is not commensurate with the European Union’s economic, and political strengths.

The emerging differences, and economic gaps between the member nations require urgent attention necessary. The EU must coordinate and institute the expansion of its capacity building efforts to bring all players at the same level. Currently, though, Germany and France seem to be its major beneficiaries. For these two nations, the EU provides a readily available labour force and a vast market for their rapidly expanding domestic industries. The European Union member nations must find equal footing if their model of economic integration is to suggest lessons for other bodies pursuing regional integrations (Volkens). These lessons will remain vital particularly when these regional entities come to the later stages of economic cooperation, and integration.

The second challenge that the European Union must tackle is increased fiscal coordination. This is necessary in the wake a seemingly worsening economic position. The European Union’s financial systems require cleaning, in order to bring them into agreement with the austerity plans that now most member nations embrace. The European Union continues to roll through murky waters, though. The ever persistent present danger of disintegration, and euro collapse remains. More so in the wake of rising national debt situation in member countries. Portugal and Ireland have since found their footing. Greece is reeling out of a life threatening debt situation that almost forced it out of the union. Similarly, the economic situation of Spain and Italy look dim. In addition, dissenting voices are heard in Britain, the Netherlands, and other quarters that threaten the very existence of the union as it is today (Hix and Høyland).

The Euro

The major factor that seems to deem the influence of the European Union stems from the dismal performances of the euro internationally. The union’s central bank is the European Central Bank (ECB). Presently, 17 of the 28 European Union member nations use the Euro as its currency. The fact is that euro comes second to the dollar in the forex market trading. This gives it an international appeal, and thereby makes it one of the leading global reserve currencies. The euro came into existence on 1 January 1999 (Damian 222-229). Consequently, the account currency placed the European Union member currencies at the same level of strength, and thereby, sent the entire member nations individual currencies into oblivion. At launch, only eleven of the EU states adopted the euro. These included Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, Ireland, Finland, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Austria. Greece joined the union in 2001, and similarly adopted the euro as its currency. So did Slovenia in 2007. Cyprus and Malta followed suit in 2008, while Slovakia adopted the euro in 2009.

The latest entrant into the union is Latvian who joined the membership on 1 January 2014. A number of other countries outside the Eurozone also use the euro. These include the Vatican City, San Marino Republic, Monaco Principality, as well as the Andorra Principality. In addition, many territories of the Eurozone countries including Madeira Islands, the Canary Islands, the Azores, the Reunion, French Guiana, the Balearic Islands, Europa Island, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Pierre, Mayotte, Juan de Nova, and Saint Martin among many others also use the euro in their day-to-day transactions. Equally, the North Korean Republic, Cuba, and Syria also use the euro. Most currencies of the world similarly exchange their currencies to the euro based on the prevailing market exchange rates (Damian 222-229).

The Eurozone Crisis

The major challenge that the EU faces today is the continued fragile economies of a given Eurozone member nations. These include Italy, Spain, and Greece. Greece recently received a third bailout package to the tune of 85 billion euros. Like before, the bailout came with stringent austerity measures. Spain and Italy faces renewed speculation on the ability to service their national debt portfolios in the financial markets (Hix and Høyland). Even though there appear to be some light at the end of the tunnel for many of the European Union countries, economists warn on possibilities of a “double dip” recession in the Eurozone.

Many attribute the European debt crisis to a number of financial guarantees by the EU nations that feared financial septicity, and by the global moneylender, International Monetary Fund (IMF). When ratings agencies downgrade the Eurozone debt, and even giving the Greek debt a junk status at one point, it creates a panic in the financial markets. Consequently, the basis of the bailout agreements requires the recipient countries to have stringent austerity plans aimed at reducing the national debt portfolio (Hix and Høyland).

The national debt crisis among the European Union member nations began in 2009. It stemmed from the inability of some Eurozone member countries to repay or refinance the nation debt of their countries. The nations affected included Cyprus, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, and Greece. They became unable to foot the loans of the beleaguered banks without European Central Bank inputs. Further assistance became necessary from the lenders such as the International Monetary Fund and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). Seventeen of the member countries created the EFSF sometime in 2010 (Hix and Høyland). Its mandate was to offer solutions on the spiraling European debt crisis.

The EU’s debt crisis has its genesis from the financial crisis that plagued the world in 2007 and 2008. This gave rise to the recession in 2008 to 2012. The latter led to the property bubbles in a number of countries, including the United States, and consequently, led to the crisis in the real estate markets. The culmination of the recession was in 2009, and led to the Greece’s discovery that its previous government exceedingly under reported the national budget deficit. The pronouncements signaled Greece’s a violation of the EU treaty policy, and led to fears of the euro collapse, as it eroded investor levels. This led to unsustainable high interest rates in the euro bonds. The fear this sparked in the fiscal world led to beliefs that the Eurozone debts were unsustainable (Hix and Høyland).

In 2010, in the wake of the fear of unsustainable Eurozone sovereign debt, each lender began demanded higher interests on the EU member nations’ loans, and consequently, spiraled the debt out of control. This made most member countries fail to finance budget deficits. In the phase of negative economic growth, and shrinking Gross Domestic Products (GDP), some countries raised taxes to finance the deficit as most governments slashed their expenditures. The negative social vices and economic downturns followed. This even led to votes of no confidence in the leadership, especially in Greece. In view of this, rating agencies downgraded three Eurozone debt statuses to the junk, and thereby, worsened the investor fears. The countries affected included Ireland, Portugal, and Greece (Hix and Høyland).

The Greek Case

In the wake of the upheavals in the Eurozone in 2010, the national bond yields for a number of the EU countries shot up. Those affected included the Federal Republic of Germany, Portugal, Ireland, and Greece. The escalation in bond yields forced the Greek government to seek the country’s first assistance in May 2010 (Hix and Høyland). Now, Greece got two bailouts. All the assistance came from the EU over a five years period. During this time, the country undertook the EU-led austerity measures. It aimed to reduce costs in the phase of a biting economic recession, political, and social unrest. Come June 2015, the Greek government in a phase of political divisions amid the never ending recession, faced a default on its national debts amid calls to leave the EU altogether. To save the day, the Greek parliament voted for further austerity on 5 July 2015. This led to the third bailout to the country totalling 85 billion euros.

European Union
European Union

Further Effects

Ireland went the Greek way in its request for a bailout late in 2010, while Portugal came in next in the month of May 2011 (Hix and Høyland). Spain and Italy also found themselves in the rather precarious situation, and therefore, Spain put in her request to the EU for a bailout in June 2012; and so did Cyprus. Portugal also followed suit. However, come 2014, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland exited the bailout plan in the wake of domestic austerity actions, these countries’ fiscal reforms, and other favourable economic factors. Full economic recovery may still be far, but at least they are able to stand on their own. However, for Spain, a recent economic development in the country pushes it toward a second bailout plan.

For the European Union, the economic turmoil within the union comes amid momentous wealth shifts toward Asia and Africa. In the wake of this, the EU’s global GDP share dropped from 24 percent in 1990 to 22 percent in 2010. The emerging markets as those of China, India, Russia, and Brazil all compete the European Union for foreign direct investments, and growth resources like oil and gas. In addition, the European labour force ages drastically and now seeks leisure than work. Furthermore, the European Union lags behind in resource allocation to innovation. Innovation is the engine of growth, and where it lacks, stagnation quickly follows. The European Union’s Lisbon Strategy that aimed to turn the European Union into an economic powerhouse is conspicuously missing in action (Hix and Høyland). In addition, its latest 2020 plan, operating in an environment of lofty ambitions, certainly will not fare any better.

In this era of declining oil and commodity prices amid rising food prices economic recovery prospects for the European Union look grimmer. Simply put, future forecasts for the European Union paint a rather dark picture of the European Union, in the wake of its largely aging and immobile population. This gives the Union a competitive disadvantage in the wake of cheap labour markets in Asia and Africa, which now forces the union’s domestic enterprises to relocate to the two continents (Kelegama 110-131). This leaves the European Union economy overburdened by high unemployment rate amid rising health costs. In addition, the Asian communist and socialist development models now pose great challenges to the capitalist model of the Anglo-Saxon cooperation. Consequently, fewer Asian nations are eager to implement the American and European Union led reforms on environmental, labour, and social strata arguing this would greatly disadvantage their development plans at this critical juncture.

The third and critical challenge in the European Unionrevolves around finding a common identity. Member nations never speak with one voice, turning the union into a misdirected entity where opposing forces pull in different directions (Dinan). The current Syrian refugees’ crisis and the subsequent divisions it continues to cause in the leadership of Eurozone is a case at hand. Academicians describe it as one the greatest paradoxes of the European Union, in the phase of a widening and deepening rift. We have a European Union that progressively moved from the unification of its customs departments into a single-market economy, and currently boasts seventeen nations in its monetary union. We also have an EU that gradually increased the number of membership nations from just six at its onset to the current twenty-eight members. In this diversity that spans almost the entire continent, a common identity continues to be a great challenge.

Consequently, the European Union finds itself unable to strengthen the union’s political institutions further, in order to keep abreast with the deepening needs of this integration, in the wake of a heterogeneous membership. In the phase of a widespread public scepticism on the European Union’s vision of cooperation and integration, the citizens remain hooked to individual national values, and consequently, are reluctant in letting Brussels usurp the national powers. In addition, the two bearers of the EU’s vision, France and Germany are now openly divided on matters of economic governance (Hix and Høyland). Therefore, the union needs to find a common European voice in all matters that touch on global economic governance.

Many in the EU looked upon the Lisbon Treaty as a provider of the necessary impetus for deepening the economic prospects of the European Union, but the struggle seems to bare any fruit presently. As a result, national politicians are now reluctant to push forward the agenda for strengthening the European Union. The strongest proponent of the union, Germany, now relaxes its voice on closer integration (Hix and Høyland). This gives the sceptics raw fodder to publicly doubt the euro prospects. In this front, however, a number of European Union politicians, such as the former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and Belgium’s former prime minister, Guy Verhofstad, who lead the liberals minds to the argument that the European Union now requires radical steps to best respond to its myriad political and economic crisis. This group believes that the European Union’s handicap stems from the weak central institutions of the European Union. Consequently, they assert that the European Union needs sufficient regulation that governs its energy and financial sectors. Unfortunately, for the group, lukewarm reception from Germany and a number of member nations continue to meet their recommendations.

The Validity of this Model

Recent political and economic crisis in the Eurozone puts heavy challenge on the European Union’s model of governance as an implantable system of governance. However, some scholars argue that this fallout is only temporary. History is rife with instances where the EU rebounded from the ashes. This group argues that the European Union will leverage its present day adversity, and move forward in its integration efforts. This group cite as an example, the 1954 case where the plan mooted for a common European defence system failed. It is this plan, however, that gave birth to the EEC in three years’ time. Another common point of reference is the empty-chairs crisis under the then French president Charles de Gaulle in 1965. His theatrical actions later resulted in the Single European Act in 1986 through a unilateral acceptance of QMV (Bartolini). In addition, the 1980s currency tribulations gave rise to the common European Monetary System, and eventually the euro.

In the wake of regional blocs’ dominance in the global economic and financial agenda, the European Union as a single player is unlikely to achieve much on its own. A long time ally, the United States, now presses for a reduction in the number of seats the European Union occupies in the Group of 20 (G20), and the global lending houses, including the World Bank, and the IMF (Hix and Høyland). In due course the changes could trigger stronger for the integration process.

In the phase of these crises, the EU continues to attract negative media attention. However, despite the critics, most governments of the member nations, and other regional groupings continue to show strong faith in this union. Of significance is the fact that despite the crises, neither the next door Russia, nor the now Asian economic giant China nor Russia sold their holdings of euros (Hix and Høyland).

Neither has the European Union’s problems dimmed other regional groupings’ quest for greater cooperation, and eventual integration. For instance, ASEAN continues to push forward its proposals for the establishment of its ambassadorial steering committee, in line with the arrangement in Brussels. They call theirs Coreper. Consequently, South Korea, China, and Japan continue to intensify the regional trilateral ministerial meetings. The aim is to establish closer ties in the East Asian cooperation (Kelegama 110-131).

Consequently, a lot exists for the benefit of many from the European Union model of integration. At the core of the matter is the fact that the European Union is a heterogeneous organization. Therefore, how the member countries manage crisis serves as a pointer to the emerging regional bodies. For instance, if one considers monetary union objectively, it becomes clear that an integrated economic and political system is necessary to evaluate the national debt of a member country, and consequently, defers speculation. This serves well those nations aspiring to forge a customs union and adopt a free market economy, which finally leads to a common currency (Kelegama 110-131).

Experts assert that the process of integration is very difficult indeed, as invariable setbacks and crises often arise. However, as one evaluates the European Union case, data available proves such sceptics wrong. The EU as a regional union boasts of an excellent record in tackling crises, and move forward ever strongly than previously. Experts attribute this to a very strong political will. Consequently, the valuable lessons from the European Union model gives an impetus on investment benefits member nations accrue from their goal to integrate regionally. In as much as the system may not prove politically convenient, however it is a platform that time testifies have great advantages to regional economies. Moreover, it is prudent to understand that integration only succeeds, in the arena where the citizens and governments believe in the cause as vital above national interests (Hix and Høyland). Consequently, where commitments lack, the regional grouping crumbles at the first bump on the road to this city called integration.

References

Bartolini, Stefano. Restructuring Europe: centre formation, system building and political structuring between the nation-state and the European Union. Oxford University Press, 2005.

Damian, Monica. “The Comparative Analysis of the Monetary Policy Strategies before the Adoption of the Euro Currency and the Impact upon the Maastricht Criteria.” Journal of Applied Economic Sciences (JAES) 3 (17 (2011): 222-229.

Dinan, Desmond. “Ever closer union: an introduction to European integration. “Boulder, USA–2005 (2004).

Hix, Simon, and Bjørn Høyland. The political system of the European Union. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Kelegama, Saman “South Asia and other regional economic groupings.” South Asia (2010): 110-131.

Volkens, Andrea, et al. Mapping policy preferences II: estimates for parties, electors, and governments in Eastern Europe, European Union, and OECD 1990-2003. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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Economics Essay Monetary Union

Balance of Advantages of the UK Joining the EMU and/or Using the Euro as a Functional Currency

Introduction

The Economic and Monetary Union is an agreement between participating European nations to share a single currency, the Euro and a single economic policy with set conditions of fiscal responsibility. There are currently 27 member-states of varying degrees of integration with the EMU.

Currently there are 16 member states who adopted the Euro: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Cyprus, Malta and Slovakia. Further 3 countries including United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden did not join the EMU even though they had an option to do so. Main reason for the UK not to join the Euro was the strength of the Pound and the British economy against the countries in the Euro zone. Joining EMU was predicted to cause economic problems in the country as European Central Bank would seize full power over the monetary policy in the UK including for instance setting benchmark interest rates. Economists are therefore divided into two groups: pro and cons the EMU. Aim of this report is to show on the example of invented for the purpose of the report Multinational Corporation (Insomnia plc) the influence of UK joining the EMU and/or using Euro as a functional currency.

History of Insomnia PLC

Insomnia plc is a UK based Multinational Corporation with their headquarters in Aberdeen, Scotland. The company was founded in 1987 by Mira Stavika. Insomnia designs, produces and sells luxurious clothing, shoes and accessories for adults and kids. The company has internationalized through subsidiary undertakings in Italy, Spain, Germany and France as well as international trade with India, where the clothing is manufactured and exported to UK. The special packaging for cloths is produced in Slovakia. Since 2001, the company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and the largest German stock exchange in Frankfurt (FWB Frankfurter Wertpapierborse). The corporation owns approximately 60% of each subsidiary.

Scope of Business

After importing clothing to the UK, Insomnia stores it and resells majority part of it to their subsidiaries at the 20% mark-up. The remaining part is being sold in the UK. Subsidiaries and parent trade the clothing in the Insomnia branded shops. Apart from the payments for the import of clothing, foreign entity has to pay to its UK parent the management fee for the administrative and managerial services it provides. Out of the profit the foreign entities obtain, 70% is re-invested in their business; the remainder is paid to shareholders in form of dividends. Almost 40% of Company’s debt is denominated in Pound Sterling where the remaining part (60%) is in Euro. Revenue of the company comes in 70% from Euro and 30% from UK braches in Pound Sterling.

Parent company uses Pound Sterling as a functional and reporting currency, whereas all of the subsidiaries occupying in the Euro zone, use Euro as a functional and reporting currency.

Monetary Union
Monetary Union

Current Exposures in  a Monetary Union

Insomnia plc trades mainly in the foreign markets. This exposes the company into a series of uncertainties mainly regarding the exchange rate of the currencies. Exchange rates cannot be predicted with the ideal accuracy, but companies can at least forecast their exposure to exchange rates fluctuations which comes in three types.

Transaction Exposure

Transaction exposure is the degree to which the short–to–medium term cash flows denominated in foreign currencies are affected by the exchange rate fluctuations. This type of exposure has direct and large effect on the value of the company’s earnings.

Insomnia is highly affected by this type of exposure due to majority of its operations denominated in foreign currency. Buying clothing from the manufacturers in India and selling these to their foreign subsidiaries highly exposes company. Depending on the economic conditions, value of Indian Rupee and Euro can change rapidly within short period of time (Even as much as 10% within a year; Madura, 2007). Invoicing of clothing imported from India is denominated in Rupee, so if the value of this currency appreciates against the Pound, payables of UK company will increase and adverse. Similarly sales of the clothing to subsidiaries are invoiced in foreign currency, the Euro, which can affect cash flow in the adverse way to Rupees. Transaction exposure affects debt as well. Due to the Euro/Sterling exchange rate increase by 16.3% in 2009, debt of the company increased significantly last year as 60% of debt is denominated in Euro.

Economic Exposure

Extent to which present value of company’s future cash flows are affected by the exchange rate fluctuations is referred as economic exposure. ‘All types of anticipated future transactions that cause transaction exposure also cause economic exposure because these transactions represent cash flows that can be influenced by exchange rate fluctuations. Economic exposure includes transaction exposure and indirect effects on revenue and cost. ’ (Madura, 2007)

Insomnia is exposed as well to the economic exposure. If the Indian Rupee appreciates against the Pound as in previous example, the company may need to increase the price of clothing sold in the UK and price of goods sold to subsidiaries as will have to pay more for the supplies. In this case, customers might shift their purchases to the cheaper clothes’ retailers both in the UK and Euro zone which will decrease export of cloths to subsidiaries and result in the reduction of the future revenues of the corporation. If Pound appreciates, home sales are expected to decrease due to the foreign competition as well. Basically, increase in value of Pound will result in a decrease in both cash inflows and outflows, and adverse. (Madura, 2007)

Translation Exposure

How does this affect a wider monetary union? Subsidiaries have their own accounting records, but in reality parent fully controls the entities. Parent company has to show its own and subsidiaries’ accounts in a consolidated manner through consolidated financial statement. To do so, there is a need to translate financial statements of all subsidiaries of different currencies into reporting currency of the parent, which is Pound Sterling.

As exchange rates vary over time, the translation of the foreign entity’s accounts is exposed to exchange rate movements called translation exposure.

Insomnia plc has to translate the Euro denominated financial statements of its subsidiaries to the Pound Sterling, which is governed by the Financial Reporting Standards (FRS 23) and the International Accounting Standards (IAS 21). Assets and liabilities should be translated at the closing date; whereas income and expenses at the exchange rates at the transaction dates (average rate for the period is allowed, if reasonable).

Translation exposure does not affect the cash flow directly, but investors base their decisions on the consolidated financial statements. When in 2005 Insomnia announced that its consolidated earnings will be negatively affected by the translation exposure to Euro, investors responded very fast by selling their shares of the company, which led to decline in value of the stock by 5%.

Hedging

What is the impact of hedging on a wider monetary union? Exchange rate fluctuation exposures affect the cash flows of the entity in a direct or indirect way. The main aim of hedging is to minimize the effects and the uncertainty of the exchange rates fluctuations. Hedging may as well reduce agency costs, expected tax liability, and the cost of financial distress. Insomnia uses forward contracts to secure the exchange rate of their transactions and thus minimize the transaction exposure. For payables it negotiates the forward contract to buy foreign currency, for receivables – contract to sell foreign currency. The company, being risk averse, uses forward contracts to minimize the economic and translation exposure as well. To minimize the cost of hedging, company first calculates the net transactions exposure in each currency for each of the subsidiaries, then hedge against this balance. Additionally, company invoices the exports to its subsidiaries in the same currency in which they will pay management fees and dividends to a UK parent. It cannot be done for the transactions with the suppliers in India and Slovakia.

Effects of the UK Joining EMU on Insomnia Plc

Creating single market forming free flow of goods, capital, services and people within the European Union was the main objective of creating the EMU. To adopt Euro, countries need to fulfill “Convergence Criteria” set out by the Maastricht Treaty, but benefits outweigh the hard to accomplish objectives of price, exchange rate and fiscal stability as well as interest rate convergence and an impact on a wider monetary union.

Cost Savings on Cross-Border Transactions

Increase in trade within the European Union is one of the main objectives of the EMU. It is supposed to increase the consumption possibilities. According to Rose (2000) trade within domestic economy is far higher than international. Joining EMU and having single market with other EU countries will significantly increase the trade by making it domestic. It could be a great advantage for the Insomnia. It is thought to be achieved through cost savings on the cross-border transactions. Trading across Euro zone is much cheaper due to no need for exchanging money to foreign currency, hedging or keeping high reserves of foreign exchange. This will speed up the transactions and decrease its cost. Insomnia will benefit from this as company already trades with the subsidiaries from the Euro zone. Joining EMU will decrease costs of trading with them, whereas leaving problem of high costs of trade with India unsolved. Staying outside the EMU could be a big disadvantage in case of Pound appreciation. Shall this happen, export and sales in foreign countries will decrease as price of company’s goods will be higher. If joining EMU, Euro fluctuations would not have an effect on the exports to subsidiaries.

So far, strength of Sterling against Euro has already resulted in the reduced UK exports, which in turn forced foreign investors to pull out of the UK (Gillette, Siemens) and many more threat to pull out if UK will not adopt Euro. For the economy it is a disadvantage, but it is in favour of Insomnia plc, as it will reduce the competition. However, today’s situation is not positive for the company as “investors come here [to UK] because we have lower taxes and less regulation than the Euro-zone.” (Dominic Cummings, F/T; 12/06/01)

Stability of Prices

Stability influences monetary union, one of the advantages of joining EMU according to the European Commission is having more stable prices due to anti-inflationary regulations by European Central Bank. It is to be done by setting benchmark interest rates (according to the Fisher Effect) and exchange rate. It will affect Insomnia indirectly. In the event of the crisis in one of the EMU countries it is very possible that ECB will adjust interest rates in all other countries regardless the domestic conditions of single states. UK economy then may become unstable and collapse unfavourably affecting cash flows of the company. The risk of this happening is large due to high Euro volatility comparing to Dollar and Pound since it was introduced.

However, price stability can bring more advantages than the disadvantages to the Insomnia. Creditors being sure that prices will remain stable in the future are more willing to lend at lower interest rate which encourages domestic investments. Historically, UK interest rates have been higher than in the Euro-zone. In case of higher interest rates in the country, it may attract foreign investors in putting funds into Insomnia, but customers are more willing to save money rather than spend on clothing. Controlled inflation, stabilized prices and elimination of exchange rate fluctuations result in the ease of making long term investment decisions, planning and borrowing for Insomnia. (“Stability: Why is it important for you?”; ECB, 2009)

Price Transparency in a Monetary Union

Price transparency of a monetary union is driven by the price stability. When joining EMU, costs of the same goods across the whole Euro-zone will be much easier to compare. Prices of the Insomnia plc are relatively more expensive than the competitors, revealing it will lead customers to shift their purchases to different retailers. This might effect in the downwards pressure on prices and make it harder to keep different pricing policies on similar quality and use products. It is a big advantage for customers, but not for the Insomnia businesses. On the other hand, price transparency might help the company to find and work with the new, cheaper suppliers of clothing’s packaging. In addition, if Insomnia wants to set up a new subsidiary in the Euro-zone country, can easily compare costs of doing so among various locations. Stock prices of EMU countries are more comparable and prices are more stable as well, so it is easier and safer for the foreign investors to chose and invest in stock of Insomnia. Although, highly correlated markets decrease the diversification of the European investor.

Other Effects

Joining Euro will effect in long-term savings on the book-keeping. The Company has to hire people and keep tracks of costs, expenditures, margins etc. in various currencies. These costs will be reduced due to single currency used by the parent and subsidiaries. On the other hand, the disadvantage of one currency would be the cost of change over. This will require staff training, new tills software as well as labelling. Using Euro by UK might make company’s products more attractive to Euro zone customers due to easier purchases of goods online with no exchange rate uncertainty.

However, contrasting to the UK, in the Euro zone there is a VAT fee on children clothing, which will increase the price of such company’s items. It is a disadvantage for the clothing company. (Stephen Castle, the Independent, 15/07/03)

The level of hedging in Insomnia will be significantly decreased. Due to having Euro as a functional currency, company’s transaction exposure will be minimized drastically, due to having majority of transactions denominated in Euro. Insomnia will have to hedge only against the Indian Rupee. Economic exposure to exchange rate fluctuations will be decreased as well due to majority of the company’s operations based in the single, highly integrated market. Appreciation or depreciation of the Euro will not have an effect on the price of goods relatively to the competitors, trade or competition itself within the EMU. It will influence only trade with India and only Rupee will have to be hedged against. Translation exposure will be eliminated. As company needs to translate only the financial statements of its subsidiaries within the EMU, there is no need for this, therefore any need for hedging.

Using Euro as a Functional Currency of Insomnia Plc

“Functional currency is the currency of the primary economic environment in which the entity operates. The primary economic environment in which an entity operates is normally the one in which it primarily generates and expends cash.”(IAS 21) Insomnia considers the choice of the functional currency based on the factors stated by the IAS 21:

  1. The currency: That mainly influences sales prices for goods and services (this will often be the currency in which sales prices for its goods and services are denominated and settled); and of the country whose competitive forces and regulations mainly determine the sales prices of its goods and services.
  2. The currency: That mainly influences labour, material and other costs of providing goods or services (this will often be the currency in which such costs are denominated and settled).

According to the factors stated above, Insomnia should change its functional currency into Euro. The effect of this action will be similar to joining the EMU. Insomnia having Euro as a functional currency will benefit from the fixed exchange rate and reductions in cost of managing currency risk, speed of Euro transactions as well as price transparency. UK market will not be highly integrated with the Euro zone, as it would be in case of joining EMU. Insomnia would not be able to gain from the lower interest rates and stable prices. Obtaining cross-border funds will be easier when having Euro as functional currency, but due to prices being less stable, the cost of financing will be slightly higher than in the EMU. VAT on children clothing will not be introduced giving an advantage to Insomnia. Hedging will be decreased as well. Transaction exposure will be minimized, but by less than when joining EMU. There will be a need to hedge small amounts against receivables in Pounds and payables in Rupees as the majority of transactions are denominated in Euro. The company could easily reduce the exposure even more by invoicing in Euro, shifting this way the exposure down the supply chain. Economic exposure will be slightly decreased. In opinion of the report’s author, appreciation or depreciation of Euro throughout the EMU will not have an effect on the company or its competition. Although, UK will not be consistent with the single market, interest rates and inflation of the EMU zone, which may cause the differentiation in prices of the same goods (no price stability). Translation exposure will be shifted from translating from Euro to Pounds, to translation of Pounds to Euro. Exposure will be however decreased due to only 30% of revenue coming in Pounds.

On the other hand, it is argued (E. Christie; A. Marshall) that there is no connection in reduction in hedging with the decrease in risk. According to the article, the majority of UK MNCs using Euro as functional currency stated that there is no reduction in hedging. Author of the report argues with this opinion. It is probable that questioned companies had different levels of trade with the Euro zone states. Insomnia plc has its majority of operations focused within the EMU zone, therefore the advantages of reduced risk will benefit in lower incentives for hedging. Moreover, hedging policies could stay unchanged due to the different types of risk (non currency) faced by the companies. According to the article, using Euro did not encourage companies to expand internationally, which illustrates currency exchange risk as only one of the factors influencing investment decisions.

Conclusion

UK joining the EMU will bring Insomnia Plc lots of advantages. Stable prices, elimination of the exchange rate uncertainty leading to cost savings on the cross-border transactions, price transparency, possible growth, easier accessible borrowing, higher stock liquidity and decrease in hedging are just the major benefits to the company. However, there are factors which can influence the corporation in a negative way including not always favorable price transparency or additional costs of change over. Similarly, using the Euro as a functional currency involves its advantages and disadvantages, but the last have greater power than in the case of joining the EMU. It is decided that main exposures of the company involve the exchange risk; therefore reducing this uncertainty will be significantly beneficial to the Insomnia plc in the short and long term.

References

Anon, An Analysis on Whether UK Should Join the Euro

Artis, M., The call of a common currency, Europe without Currency Barriers, paper no. 3

Buckley, A., 2004. Multinational Finance. 5th ed. Edinburgh: Pearson Education ltd.

Castle, S., 2003. Britain fights EU plan for children’s clothing tax.

Christie, E., Marshall, A., 2001. The Impact of the Introduction of the Euro on Foreign Exchange Risk Management in UK Multinational Companies. European Financial Management, Vol. 7, No. 3.

Currie, D., 1997. The pros and cons of EMU

HM Treasury (1997), UK membership of the single currency: An assessment of the Five Economic Test

Rose, A.K., 1999. Does a Currency Union Boost International Trade?

International Accounting Standards. ,2009,IAS 21, The Effects of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates

Madura, J., Fox, R., 2007. International Financial Management. London: Thomson Learning.

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