In order to shore up confidence and stability in the Eurozone, Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, told an audience of around 350 invited guests from government, academia, business, and the media that the key to growth and avoiding crises in the future lies in the single market. Draghi was the keynote speaker at the international conference “Making Europe’s Economic Union work” that was jointly organized by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the Jacques Delors Institutes in Berlin and Paris and the Hertie School of Governance.
Draghi said both public and private risk sharing were required in the Eurozone – and advocated in particular the introduction of a new fiscal instrument: “There ought to be an instrument that complements monetary policy in delivering macroeconomic stability both at the euro area level and, crucially, in each of its member states.” But, he noted, such a tool must address moral hazard to reduce risks. Draghi underlined that the European Monetary Union is by definition steadily evolving and that member states need to join forces to strengthen it on a continuous basis.
“Es ist Zeit” – it is high time – was also the message of former European Commission President Jacques Delors that was delivered by Pascal Lamy, President Emeritus of the Jacques Delors Institute in Paris and former WTO Director-General. Delors emphasized the importance of building up the economic and social pillars of the European Economic and Monetary Union. “I have always said and I repeat it again in Berlin: the euro needs both its legs to walk – the monetary leg alone is not sufficient and never will be sufficient.” He continued: “It is growth that drives us, cohesion that makes us stronger, solidarity that unites us. This is essential so that the European Union, finally conscious of itself, can be this creative force of influence, peace and human progress.”
Henrik Enderlein, Hertie School President and Director of the Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin, welcomed participants who sparred on topics that ranged from how to avoid financial crises in the future, to the fallout from the United Kingdom’s imminent departure from the EU, and the recent budget proposals by French and German finance ministers.
Chaired by Katharina Gnath, Senior Project Manager at the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the panel included Pascal Lamy, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, and Elga Bartsch, Head of Economic and Markets Research of the BlackRock Investment Institute. Bartsch stressed the importance of single market in stabilizing the Eurozone, while Scholz advanced his idea of a European unemployment reinsurance. He also said it was vital to move quickly: “It would be a great pity if we haven’t established all the instruments necessary” before another crisis happens.
Enrico Letta, President, Jacques Delors Institute in Paris, Dean of the School of International Affairs at Sciences Po Paris (PSIA) and former Italian Prime Minister, also gave remarks, and Aart De Geus, Chairman and CEO of the Bertelsmann Stiftung concluded the conference by highlighting again the importance to invest in and fight for the historically unique project of Europe.