International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper discusses the launch of the Brandt Commission. The paper highlights that during the week of the Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors of the World Bank and the IMF in Washington, D.C. (September 26–30, 1977), Willy Brandt, former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, announced that he would head an independent commission that would identify “ways of restructuring international relations that would command the widest possible support.” The Commission will have about 15 members, both from developed and developing countries.
The member states of the European Community (EC) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) have a special relationship based on geographic proximity, a shared history, common values and—as many see it—a shared destiny.1,2 They are also each other’s most important trading partners (Charts 1 and 2). The EC countries account for over 50 percent of the EFTA countries’ exports and more than 60 percent of their imports. Indeed, the EFTA countries trade as extensively with the EC countries as the EC countries trade among themselves. On the other hand, the EFTA countries by themselves do not constitute a cohesive area. Intra-EFTA trade is—with the exceptions of trade between Switzerland and Austria and between Finland, Norway, and Sweden—insignificant relative to the trade of individual EFTA countries with the EC.
The issue of economic and political integration has been on the Western European agenda since the end of World War II (Siegler, 1961). The first step toward forming the European Communities (EC) was taken in 1951, when Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands formed the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) with a supranational administrative body, the High Authority.6 In 1955, following the failure of plans to form a European Defense Community and a European Political Union, the same six countries agreed in principle to form a common market, which envisaged the free movement of goods, services, labor, and capital—the “four freedoms.” The founding document of the European Economic Community (EEC)—the EEC Treaty, signed in March 1957—embodied a vision for broadly based economic integration going well beyond simple cooperation on trade issues.
A number of institutional and legal issues arise as a result of efforts toward intensified EC-EFTA cooperation. There is a need for increased mutual recognition in civil law, particularly with regard to commercial judgments, and the institutional changes that may be required as part of the creation of the EES. Other relevant issues include corporate law and industrial and intellectual property.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Note discusses findings of interconnectedness and spillover analysis on Italy. The market-based measures of tail risks and interconnectedness among key banks and insurance companies in Italy have declined from their peak but remain at elevated levels. Although the stress on Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena has been manifesting on its own, the market perception about the condition of the banks appears to be increasingly contaminating the market views on other Italian financial institutions. It is also observed that exogenous factors, such as the Italian sovereign, are the key source of systemic risk for the market pricing of Italian financial institutions.
Austria has relatively strong macroeconomic fundamentals, but also deep ties with the rest of the euro area. The legacy of an overly ambitious eastward financial sector expansion has created substantial challenges to its policymakers. Policies have been designed to preserve market confidence, increase resilience against future adverse external spillovers, and boost potential growth. The Austrian supervisory authorities have also introduced a set of macroprudential guidelines to strengthen the resilience of the banking sector. However, improvements in the fiscal governance framework have not advanced as expected.
Liechtenstein’s financial sector business has created money laundering risks. The investigative powers of the law enforcement authorities are comprehensive enough to enable them to conduct serious investigations in an effective way. Money laundering is criminalized broadly in line with the international standard. Liechtenstein relies on its trust service providers to obtain, verify, and retain records of the beneficial ownership and control of legal persons. Liechtenstein should conduct a full review of its laws concerning non-profit organizations to assess their adequacy for combating the financing of terrorism.
The 2015 Article IV Consultation discusses the key issues related to the economy of Austria. Austria has recovered from the global financial crisis, but the crisis still remains in bank and public sector balance sheets. Major banks have been striving to strengthen their capital and profitability positions amid regulatory and supervisory reforms. Despite lackluster growth, economic slack is limited as potential growth has fallen as well. The governing coalition of Social Democrats and the right-of-center People's Party holds a constructive dialogue on economic policy issues. Growth is estimated at 0.7 percent in 2015, a slight improvement over the ½ percent average in 2012–14, on the back of strengthening external and domestic demand.