Designing Public Private Partnerships that Work

By Gary Glickman

“EU co-financed Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) cannot be regarded as an economically viable option for delivering public infrastructure, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. The PPPs audited suffered from widespread shortcomings and limited benefits, resulting in €1.5 billion of inefficient and ineffective spending.”[1]

A recent report by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) offered a sobering view of public private partnerships (PPPs) and their ability to achieve better results at lower cost. In fact, in an audit of 12 out of 84 PPPs across the EU, the ECA found that the majority of projects required additional investments by the EU and the host countries and that some of the projects were never completed. Assuming that these 12 projects were representative of the entire 84, this report suggests the clear need for a reevaluation of the use of PPPs and how they are designed and implemented.


Europe’s Parliamentary Elections Roil Europe’s Economic Outlook

By J. Paul Horne, Independent International Market Economist

Markets are reacting negatively to the economic implications of the European Parliamentary (EP) elections held in late May. The results in most of the 28 European Union (EU) states sent a decidedly mixed message on who and how voters want to manage EU and euro zone (EZ) monetary and fiscal policies. Symptomatic of market nervousness was the historic low yield on Germany’s 10-year government bond, as investors fled to what is considered Europe’s safest investment. The “bund” yield closed at minus 26 basis points (-0.26 percent) last Friday (June 7), even though the negative yield means investors pay the German government to protect their capital.


UK Leaders Clash Over How to Define Who's Poor

By Michael White, London

UK Opposition Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, recently took time out from Brexit to challenge Prime Minister Theresa May over official data’s confirmation that UK poverty levels are rising—despite her government’s promise to prioritise the concerns of the struggling poor in Rust Belt regions and throughout the UK. The Joseph Roundtree Foundation reported increases in poverty in the last five years, including increases of 15 percent among both working parents and children.


“This Blessed Plot” Shines Light on Brexit

By Michael D. Mosettig, former Foreign Editor of PBS News Hour

When Britain’s premier political commentator Hugo Young published “This Blessed Plot” in 1998, it was well received as a magisterial history of the United Kingdom’s rocky post-World War II relationships with the European unification movement and its progeny.[1]

Little did anyone imagine 20 years later, this same book would be a road map to the two-year-plus, non-stop mess, now careening to chaos, called Brexit.


If Brexit Now Fails, The West Will Gain

By Robert E. Hunter

The massive defeat for Brexit in the British Parliament by more than 200 votes means that the whole issue gets sent back to the drawing board. There are only 73 days before the magic moment when, on March 29, the UK is scheduled to depart from the European Union. But even that is no longer certain.

With the clock ticking, debate now continues in haste, with a wide range of alternatives to be considered.


Italy’s 2019 Budget Worries the EU and Global Markets

By J. Paul Horne, The European Institute at the University of Maryland

Rarely does Italian fiscal policy seriously worry foreign investors accustomed to successive crises, but the 2019 budget proposed by Rome’s new coalition government of the League (“Lega”) of right-wing parties and the populist Five Star Movement (5SM) is triggering bad reactions in bond and equity markets, even fears of a renewed Euro debt crisis. The sharp sell-off in European and U.S. equities during the week of October 8 was attributed in part to when Italy appeared to thumb its nose at basic EU austerity measures.