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2018 OECD Economic Surveys: Euro Area 2018

The euro area economy is growing robustly, and GDP growth is projected to remain strong in 2018 and 2019. These improved economic conditions should facilitate further reforms needed to enhance euro area resilience to downturns and ensure its long-term sustainability. Rapid resolution of remaining non-performing loans would facilitate new bank lending and better transmission of monetary policy. Governments should use the recovery to improve fiscal positions and gradually reduce high debt, which would reduce the risk of pro-cyclical fiscal stances in bad times. Simplifying the fiscal rules, while keeping the necessary flexibility, would make the rules more operational. Banking union remains unfinished and futher progress is key to achieve greater private risk sharing. To further loosen the potentially harmful links between banks and their sovereigns, a combination of policies incentivising banks to diversify their holdings of sovereign debt and the introduction of a European safe asset should be considered in parallel. A fiscal stabilisation capacity at the euro area level, such as an unemployment benefits re-insurance scheme, could help absorb large negative country-specific and euro area shocks and complement national fiscal policies. More integrated capital markets would deepen private risk sharing through more diversified financing and greater cross-border investment.



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