Show cover of The Sound of Economics

The Sound of Economics

The Sound of Economics brings you insights, debates, and research-based discussions on economic policy in Europe and beyond. The podcast is produced by Bruegel, an independent and non-doctrinal think tank based in Brussels. It seeks to contribute to European and global economic policy-making through open, fact-based, and policy-relevant research, analysis, and debate.

Titres

1982: the debt crisis that could have destroyed Western banking
Science Po professor Jérôme Sgard discusses his new book on the debt crisis of the 1980s on this episode of The Sound of Economics, with host Rebecca Christie and award-winning book author and journalist Paul Blustein. They explore the shockwaves that hit developing countries during this period, starting with the quasi-default of Mexico in 1982, as well as the Brady bond debt relief plan that followed. This podcast addresses the global impact of this this crisis and the subsequent recovery, along with what we can learn going forward. 
32:31 10/04/2024
One grid to rule them all? The future of a European single electricity market
In this episode of the sound of economics, Rebecca Christie invites Georg Zachmann and Christian Zinglersen to talk about the ambitious idea of creating a more integrated European electricity market. They discuss the drastic change in Europe’s energy outlook, as we switch from a world of fossil imports to mostly domestic electricity production. They address the benefits of a better-coordinated European energy system, as well as the need for improved communication between member states, harmonised market instruments, and joint investment in infrastructure to achieve greater efficiency and resilience. They lay out the complexity of this cross-sectoral challenge and stress that this needs strong political will and trust to move forward. Relevant publication and event:  Zachmann, G., C. Batlle, F. Beaude, C. Maurer, M. Morawiecka and F. Roques (2024) ‘Unity in power, power in unity: why the EU needs more integrated electricity markets’, Policy Brief 2024/03, Bruegel Why the EU needs more integrated electricity markets, Bruegel event, 28 February 2024
41:42 03/04/2024
Capital markets union - why now?
European Union leaders want to breathe new life into the Capital markets union, the decade-old project to reduce fragmentation and put finance to work for the single market. In this episode of the Sound of Economics, Rebecca Christie sits down with Thomas Wieser, former President of the Eurogroup Working Group and chair of the EU's 2019 High Level Group on financial architecture, and Nicolas Véron, Senior fellow at Bruegel and a veteran observer of the financial markets, to discuss how Europe can attract private investment and help fund the costly green and digital transition. Relevant publication: European capital markets union: make it or break it, Nicolas Véron, Bruegel first glance, March 2024
42:10 27/03/2024
Key take-aways from China’s Two Sessions
In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Yuyun Zhan sits down with Alicia García-Herrero and Zichen Wang to talk about China’s Two Sessions, the Chinese government's annual plenary sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC) and of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), held from 4–11 March 2024. They discuss the growth targets which were given during the sessions and what they might mean for the Chinese economy. This episode is part of the ZhōngHuá Mundus series of The Sound of Economics. ZhōngHuá Mundus is a newsletter by Bruegel, bringing you monthly analysis of China in the world, as seen from Europe. Sign up now to receive it in your mailbox! Relevant episode: Understanding local government debt in China, Bruegel podcast episode
26:55 20/03/2024
How war in Ukraine brought Europe together
Two years after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the European Union has held together rather than let the conflict divide it. Rebecca Christie discusses the EU’s shifts on trade, energy security and economic cooperation with André Sapir and Ben McWilliams. They discuss how the bloc weaned itself off Russian fossil fuels in record time, adjusted its relationship with China, and managed relations between Western Europe and countries in Central and Eastern Europe closer to the front. 
39:41 13/03/2024
The complexities of AI regulation
In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Rebecca Christie is joined by Bertin Martens, Bruegel Senior fellow and Werner Stengg, expert of EVP Margrethe Vestager’s cabinet. They explore the complexities of artificial intelligence (AI) regulation, focusing on the European Union's AI Act. They discuss the goals and potential effectiveness of the new artificial intelligence rules, including in areas like data use, copyright, antitrust and global competitiveness. 
40:31 06/03/2024
South Korea's semiconductor strategy
In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Yuyun Zhan sits down with Alicia García-Herrero and June Park to talk about South Korea’s semiconductor industry, specifically how geopolitical tensions like China’s localisation needs and US export controls could impact the sector. They also discuss South Korea’s economic relations with both of those countries and how they are affected by the semiconductor industry. They discuss if Europe can become an optimal destination for South Korean chipmakers’ diversification strategy, whether the bloc can keep up with the pace of technological innovation and if it can compete with regions like the US and Japan. This episode is part of the ZhōngHuá Mundus series of The Sound of Economics. ZhōngHuá Mundus is a newsletter by Bruegel, bringing you monthly analysis of China in the world, as seen from Europe. Sign up now to receive it in your mailbox!
36:16 28/02/2024
What to do with frozen Russian assets
In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Rebecca Christie invites MEP Johan Van Overtveldt and Bruegel Senior fellow Nicolas Véron to talk about the impact of the sanctions on Russian assets in the global financial system and what that means in terms of systemic risk for Belgium, for Europe and for the world. They discuss possible avenues where the EU could utilise 200 billion frozen Russian assets, in particular a recently proposed plan to use the assets as collateral and take out a loan to help fund Ukraine. Explore more of Bruegel's research on Ukraine. 
42:34 21/02/2024
Strengthening EU competitivenss
In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Rebecca Christie sits down with Oya Celasun, Deputy Director of the International Monetary Fund’s European Department, and Jeromin Zettelmeyer, Director of Bruegel, to talk about EU competitiveness. They define what the term means; discuss whether the EU has a competitiveness problem; and if so, how it can be fixed.
44:57 14/02/2024
Skills anticipation for the green transition
In the final episode of The Skills podcast series, Rebecca Christie discusses with Duygu Güner and Francesca Rosso on skills anticipation. They talk about the new skills that are emerging and the impact of skills anticipation on education and training. They also talk about providing the required skills needed for the green transition and about creating a smooth process for all workers, regardless of their skill level. This is part of a special Skills series of The Sound of Economics, where we discuss how we can utilise upskilling and reskilling initiatives to protect vulnerable groups of the workforce, how to build a resilient workforce and create a better functioning EU labour market. 
30:49 07/02/2024
Ten years of Europe’s banking union
In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Rebecca Christie sits down with Nicolas Véron and Harald Waiglein to look at the status of Europe’s banking union. They discuss how the project started, how it is going and the political climate that has brought us to this stage of the project. They also point out the unfinished business including insurance, the crisis management framework and more.
50:53 31/01/2024
Industrial strategies for Europe’s green transition
In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Rebecca Christie invites Chiara Criscuolo and Reinhilde Veugelers. The speakers argue that the current pace of innovation is too slow to face the challenge of climate change and that a range of barriers and market failures remain at the root of the problem. To resolve these, a mission-oriented industrial strategy for the green transition is needed. Relevant publication: Industrial strategies for Europe’s green transition, Chapter by Chiara Criscuolo, Antoine Dechezlepretre and Guy Lalanne, Bruegel Blueprint (Sparking Europe’s new industrial revolution: A policy for net zero, growth and resilience), July 2023  Did COVID-19 accelerate the green transition? OECD paper, June 2023 Industrial policy and strategies, OECD project Quantifying industrial strategies, OECD project
36:27 24/01/2024
China’s third attempt to internationalise its currency
In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Yuyun Zhan invites Alessia Amighini and Alicia García-Herrero to discuss China’s latest push to internationalise its currency, the Renminbi. They talk about China’s previous two attempts, its approach to internationalise the RMB this time around and the wider implications of a strengthened RMB. This might prompt other countries to try and strengthen their own currencies, which could lead to a more fragmented financial system. Our experts discuss how the euro, compared to the dollar, might be more affected by this. Relevant publications:  Amighini, A. and A. García-Herrero (2023) ‘Third time lucky? China’s push to internationalise the renminbi’, Policy Brief 20/2023, Bruegel China’s second attempt to internationalise the RMB by launching its own digital currency, ZhōngHuá Mundus newsletter, April 2021 This episode is part of the ZhōngHuá Mundus series of The Sound of Economics. ZhōngHuá Mundus is a newsletter by Bruegel, bringing you monthly analysis of China in the world, as seen from Europe. Sign up now to receive it in your mailbox!
28:08 17/01/2024
Taking stock of EU economic security
In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Rebecca Christie sits down with Isabelle Mejean and Niclas Poitiers to discuss EU economic security. They start with the various definitions of the term, how their research fits into the current knowledge gap and they give policy recommendations on how to strengthen economic security in the bloc in areas like diversification, industrial policy, anti-coercion instruments and so on.
41:26 10/01/2024
A year in review
In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Rebecca Christie invites Heather Grabbe, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Fiona M. Scott Morton and Jeromin Zettelmeyer to do a yearly round-up of significant economic policy developments from Europe and the world. They discuss the implication of wars and recent European elections, interest rate hikes, green investment, industrial policy, EU fiscal rules reform and digital regulations.
48:12 20/12/2023
Expectations and outcomes of the 24th EU-China summit
On 7 December 2023, the 24th EU-China Summit took place in Beijing, where President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council, Charles Michel, met with China’s President, Xi Jinping and Premier, Li Qiang. Although both sides had various topics they wanted to address, there appeared to be minimal results. In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Yuyun Zhan and Alicia García-Herrero invite Liwei Wang to take a deep dive into the expectations and outcomes of the Summit. They talk about the EU’s anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese electric vehicles, the EU’s trade deficit with China and China’s market access among various other topics. They also look at the road forward on EU-China dialogues and discuss the areas on which the two powers can work together more such as climate transition and artificial intelligence regulation. This episode is part of the ZhōngHuá Mundus series of The Sound of Economics. ZhōngHuá Mundus is a newsletter by Bruegel, bringing you monthly analysis of China in the world, as seen from Europe. Sign up now to receive it in your mailbox!
29:29 14/12/2023
Ukraine’s future with the EU
Ukraine is an official EU candidate since June 2022. In mid-December 2023, the leaders of EU countries are meeting to discuss whether to start official accession talks. In this episode of the Sound of Economics, recorded on December 8 2023, Rebecca Christie invites Zsolt Darvas and Heather Grabbe to look at the timeframe for the talks, the procedures and the criteria needed for Ukraine’s accession into the EU. They also discuss the costs of enlargement and what it might mean for the EU. Finally, they acknowledge the necessity for the union to show its solidarity with Ukraine, by opening official accession talks, helping the country to improve and reconstruct itself; and welcoming it to the EU when it has met the accession requirements.
38:39 13/12/2023
The state of play in global tax deal
About 140 nations have come together to agree on a 15% global minimum corporate tax rate and a way to make sure tech companies and other multinational giants pay their fair share. Putting these hard-won agreements into practice brings new difficulties and delays may mean a flurry of new digital services taxes. Furthermore, developing nations have pushed to put tax talks on the United Nations' agenda. In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Rebecca Christie is joined by Benjamin Angel and Pascal Saint-Amans to talk about the state of play in OECD’s global tax deal. They discuss the role that different stakeholders play in the developments, including the OECD, the EU, the US and the Global South. 
38:17 06/12/2023
The role of civil society in skills development
Civil society plays an important role in skills development. In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Rebecca Christie and Duygu Güner are joined by two stakeholders from the civil society sector: Deputy Secretary General and Head of Policy of the European Association for the Education of Adults, Raffaela Kihrer and Sertaç Yerlikaya, the country manager of 42 İstanbul, a coding school in Türkiye, Director of Türkiye Open Source Platform and Country Coordinator for the World Economic Forum's "Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator" programme. They discuss the need for cooperation and partnership among different stakeholders (industry, academia, government and civil society) in skills development, the role of civil society in building this partnership, and the importance of advocating for more involvement of civil society to help close the skills gap. This is part of a special Skills series of The Sound of Economics, where we discuss how we can utilise upskilling and reskilling initiatives to protect vulnerable groups of the workforce, how to build a resilient workforce and how to create a better functioning EU labour market. Relevant publications: Life skills and participation in adult learning, EAEA policy paper Partnerships and cooperations in adult education, EAEA background paper This podcast was produced within the project “Future of Work and Inclusive Growth in Europe“, with the financial support of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.
37:10 29/11/2023
Greening EU fiscal rules
In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Rebecca Christie is joined by Ester Barendregt, Zsolt Darvas and Jeromin Zettelmeyer to discuss how to finish the new fiscal rules for the European Union before next year's European elections. They speak about whether the emerging fiscal rules might help or hurt efforts to fund the green transition. Also on the agenda is the latest developments towards fiscal rules reform, with the speakers giving their feedback on the current proposals. They also debate how to balance debt and environmental sustainability and whether there is enough political will to achieve fiscal rules reform. Relevant publications:  Zettelmeyer, J. (2023) ‘Assessing the Ecofin compromise on fiscal rules reform’, Bruegel First Glance, 21 December, available at https://www.bruegel.org/first-glance/assessing-ecofin-compromise-fiscal-rules-reform Darvas, Z., J. Pisani-Ferry and J. Zettelmeyer (2023) ‘Bringing the reform of European Union fiscal rules to a successful close’, Bruegel First Glance, 12 December, available at https://www.bruegel.org/first-glance/bringing-reform-european-union-fiscal-rules-successful-close Zettelmeyer, J. (2023) ‘Are the emerging EU fiscal rules green enough?’, Bruegel First Glance, 16 November, available at https://www.bruegel.org/first-glance/are-emerging-eu-fiscal-rules-green-enough Darvas, Z., L. Welslau and J. Zettelmeyer (2023) ‘A quantitative evaluation of the European Commission´s fiscal governance proposal’, Working Paper 16/2023, Bruegel
36:47 22/11/2023
The evolution of EU-China relations
In this episode of ZhōngHuá Mundus, Yuyun Zhan sits down with Alicia García-Herrero and Giuseppe Porcaro, founders of the podcast and newsletter series, to reflect on their journey exploring China's economic dynamics and its implications for Europe. The hosts candidly discuss their motivations behind launching the podcast, explaining their original aims of providing a global audience with a nuanced understanding of China's international impact. They also discuss Europe's transformation and assertiveness in global affairs, expressing hopes for a more proactive approach, especially in areas like industrial policy and strategic foresight. This episode is part of the ZhōngHuá Mundus series of The Sound of Economics. ZhōngHuá Mundus is a newsletter by Bruegel, bringing you monthly analysis of China in the world, as seen from Europe. Sign up now to receive it in your mailbox!
19:38 15/11/2023
Can/Should robots look after the young and the old?
The future of work has become a prominent topic for research and policy debate. However, the debate has focused entirely on paid work, even though people in industrialised countries spend on average comparable amounts of time on unpaid work. This ranges from simple daily chores like sweeping the floor and cooking, to more complicated and controversial issues like robots looking after kids or the elderly.   In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Giuseppe Porcaro sits down with Ekaterina Hertog and Fabian Stephany to investigate the road less travelled, Ekaterina’s research on the potential and the willingness of people to automatise unpaid domestic work. Around this topic, they discuss the aspect of work/life balance, the gender aspect, the question of services oriented towards the domestic work market and more. This was produced within the project "Future of Work and Inclusive Growth in Europe" with the financial support of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.
42:31 08/11/2023
EU financial stability in times of war
Geopolitical conflicts like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the recent Israel-Hamas war have added uncertainties to the global energy and financial markets. In this episode of The Sound of Economics, our podcast host Rebecca Christie sits down with Senior fellows Simone Tagliapietra and Nicolas Veron to talk about the intersections of war and markets. Together they discuss the energy and financial implications of the Israel-Hamas war and the ongoing EU budget debate on the bloc’s financing needs such as the green transition and investments. They also explore how Europe may navigate through current geopolitical conflicts and keep its resistance moving forward. 
33:16 31/10/2023
Charting Poland’s post-election path
The 15 October Polish elections showed that the opposition leader Donald Tusk, former European Council president and a former Polish prime minister, has a decent chance of forming a new coalition government to take over from the right-wing Law and Justice Party that has been in power since 2015.  In this episode of The Sound of Economics, recorded 20 Oct., our podcast host Rebecca Christie sits down with Non-resident fellow Marek Dabrowski, a former deputy finance minister during Poland’s transition away from communism, and visiting fellow Paweł Karbownik, who has been an adviser to Tusk in Brussels and during the campaign.  Together they unpack how the elections turned out and what might happen next: what political and economic challenges the new government will be facing, the progress it might have in the standoff over the EU budget. They also discuss how Poland will play a more important role in policymaking as the EU looks toward new rounds of enlargement in coming years.
37:41 25/10/2023
Understanding local government debt in China
China's growth model, marked by excessive investment and a high savings rate, has led to the accumulation of local government debt and a skewed balance between consumption and investment. In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Giuseppe Porcaro and Alicia García-Herrero explore this debt burden with Michael Pettis, exposing the structural problem in China’s growth model which over-relies on investment. This episode is part of the ZhōngHuá Mundus series of The Sound of Economics. ZhōngHuá Mundus is a newsletter by Bruegel, bringing you monthly analysis of China in the world, as seen from Europe. Sign up now to receive it in your mailbox!
30:22 18/10/2023
Skills-based hiring: tackling the labour shortages
There is a huge skill mismatch and skills shortages in the EU labour market. In 2022, despite the all-time high employment rate (74.6%), we are still seeing the highest job vacancy rate of 2.9%, which more than doubled compared to 2012 (1.3%). In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Giuseppe Porcaro discusses the importance of skills-based hiring with Duygu Güner and Mona Mourshed. How can this practice help remove the barriers between workers and the job market and how can it further assist digital transformation in our economy? They also discuss how to motivate workers as well as employers to adopt this new system. This is part of a special Skills series of The Sound of Economics, where we discuss how we can utilise upskilling and reskilling initiatives to protect vulnerable groups of the workforce, how to build a resilient workforce and create a better functioning EU labour market.  Relevant publications: Launching a Tech Hiring Revolution, Report by Generation Gotti, G., T. Schraepen and D. Güner (2023) ‘Technology Adoption dashboard’, Bruegel Datasets The Midcareer Opportunity: Meeting the Challenges of an Ageing Workforce, Report by Generation This podcast was produced within the project “Future of Work and Inclusive Growth in Europe“, with the financial support of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.
37:37 11/10/2023
Read with Bruegel: Ways of being
What can we learn from other forms of intelligence and personhood, and how can we change our societies to live more equitably with one another and the non-human world? In this episode of Read with Bruegel series, Giuseppe Porcaro welcomes James Bridle to discuss his latest book ‘Ways of Being: Animals, Plants, Machines: The Search for a Planetary Intelligence.’ They discuss the effects of Artificial Intelligence and new technologies on our society, economics, politics and everyday life. They delve into the relationship human beings have with the other beings we share the planet with. They also discuss the contribution of art and of artistic practices and why we should build more bridges between artists, economists, and political scientists.
38:17 04/10/2023
The state of play in EU-LATAM trade
The EU has been using trade policy to export its standards on competition policy, environmental protection and human rights among other policy areas, which has famously become known as ‘The Brussels Effect’. But this could eventually get in the way of trade deal negotiations. For example, the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement is bogged down by Amazon deforestation concerns since 2019.  But can the EU afford to prolong the trade deal negotiations with Latin America countries, given Latin America’s increasingly important role in global economics, from the reconfiguration of the global supply chains to being a key component for critical raw materials, which is a strategic emerging consumer’s market and an indispensable natural resource for the planet? In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Giuseppe Porcaro invites Alan Beattie, Alicia García-Herrero and David Kleimann to discuss the state of play of EU-LATAM trade relations and how the EU should proceed to showcase its commitment to trade openness and economic engagement.
42:03 27/09/2023
Evaluating the European Commission’s fiscal governance proposal
At the start of the Covid-19 crisis, the European Commission suspended the fiscal rules that applied to member states to allow countries to use fiscal policy domestically to deal with health emergency. This suspension was further extended when Russia invaded Ukraine and cause a great energy crisis in the European Union. The suspension is now meant to be lifted in 2024 when the rules will come back into full operation. In this three-year period, the European Commission has also tried to update and modernise the fiscal framework in a proposal they put forward in April 2023. In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Maria Demertzis invites Jeromin Zettelmeyer and Zsolt Darvas to evaluate this proposal. As they present in a recent paper, in this framework, medium-term fiscal adjustment requirements would be determined by country-by-country debt sustainability analysis (DSA), the 3 percent deficit ceiling and simple rules requiring minimum deficit and debt adjustments (‘safeguards’). These elements are controversial, with some EU countries (and us) preferring a DSA-based approach, while others prefer to stick to simple rules.   Relevant publications Darvas, Z., L. Welslau and J. Zettelmeyer (2023) ‘A quantitative evaluation of the European Commission´s fiscal governance proposal’, Working Paper 16/2023, Bruegel The economic governance review and its impact on monetary-fiscal coordination, Zsolt Darvas, Jeromin Zettelmeyer, In-Depth analysis, European Parliament
49:17 20/09/2023
Assessing the State of the Union 2023
On 13 September 2023, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, delivered this year’s State of the Union address before the European Parliament. This is the last address of her current mandate. In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Giuseppe Porcaro hosts André Sapir, Simone Tagliapietra and Jeromin Zettelmeyer to evaluate von der Leyen’s address regarding the European Green Deal, industrial policy, economic security, Ukraine and more.
56:05 13/09/2023

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