Idea Behind the New European Unemployment Insurance

The idea of creating a European unemployment insurance returns. It emerged in 2012 in the Report of the four presidents. The Minister of the Economy, Nadia Calviño, has reincorporated her into the debate on the deepening of the monetary union, which is hot until December.

All these papers have a common thread. Double. One, the object. By receiving European aid in the crisis to pay unemployment insurance, vulnerable countries could devote the enormous resources that should be allocated to strengthen investment, the usual immediate victim of cuts.

A “partial mutualization” would thus help to “reduce the severity of recessions and grant governments” a “fiscal space to apply reforms” and “invest” ( A European Unemployment benefit insurance, Bertelsmann Foundation, 2014).

The other is how. To avoid that this support accrues in a permanent transfer, to avoid the “moral hazard” of the recipients who habituate at the expense of the taxpayers: German anguish.

The interest of the last document for a robust European unemployment insurance, Ebert Foundation, with the support of the Public Agenda) is that it has been developed jointly, among other experts, by MEPs (socialists) from the North and from the South: the German Jakob von Weizsäcker and the Spanish Jonás Fernández. Mutualizes sensitivities.

The ideal is not sought, an insurance payable directly from the Union, which would make it more visible. But the viable thing: a stock market that helps the Governments to confront the payment. That fund would have a national (80%) and a European (20%) part.

Each country would contribute to fill it with one-tenth of its GDP up to a ceiling of 1% (then stop). If your unemployment exceeded 0.2% of the previous year, you could withdraw resources from your own box; if 2% grew, also from the common compartment: in greater proportion to a greater increase in unemployment.

If the European fund were to incur a deficit because many of them pulled their sleeve, they would be authorized to issue bonds: it is the clearest element of mutualization. Compensated by greater responsibilities: the most deficiencies would contribute to a greater extent when their situation normalized. It is the firewall of moral risk.

If this system had been applied in the crisis, Spain would have received strong support, up to 2.5% of its GDP, which is very significant. In return, in 22 years Germany would have only contributed half a point of its GDP, 0.02% per annum.

The most decisive thing: those from the North would have received help on 41 occasions; those of the South, 48. The system is balanced. The condition is necessary to fly. But not enough: it requires strong political support.

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