Brussels Economic Forum 2014: Europe's growth prospects in the globalised economy
Brussels - EC/Charlemagne
On 10 June 2014, on the occasion of the Brussels Economic Forum, the second panel of the Brussel Economic Forum 2014 was entitled "Europe's growth prospects in a globalised economy". Rebecca Christie, Bloomberg News correspondent in Europe, moderated the discussion amongst Marco Buti, Director-General of DG "Economic and Financial Affairs" of the EC, Bettina Wasteels, European Development Director at GDF SUEZ, André Sapir, Senior Fellow at Bruegel and Professor of Economics at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Anders Åslund, Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and Eric Bartelsman, Professor of Economics at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.
Although the panel members offered different prescriptions to boost the economy, they all warned that Europe’s current meagre growth could vanish fast if nothing was done.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||INTRODUCTION by Rebecca Christie, Bloomberg News correspondent in Europe, (in ENGLISH) presenting the panellists of the second session of the Brussel Economic Forum 2014 entitled "Europe's growth prospects in the globalised economy".
||SPEECH by Marco Buti, Director-General of DG "Economic and Financial Affairs" of the EC, (in ENGLISH) saying that a short-term recovery had at last arrived, but it was fragile because of the high level of indebtedness and the fact that many countries and economic actors were still devoting much of their energy to servicing their high debts; saying that the current 1% growth rates would only improve if economic and financial reforms continued; saying that we entered the crisis with an incomplete economic and monetary union; we have growth, but this is not enough to fill our needs, saying that EU governments had to be clearer about what they were trying to achieve; structural reforms cannot be done by force or stealth, saying that he rejects ‘Juncker’s curse’ – the famous suggestion by former Luxembourgish Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker that, "We all know what to do, but we don't know how to get re- elected once we have done it."; saying that together with co-authors he had tested it empirically, looking at how reforms affected elections; the curse does not apply; reformist governments can be re-elected or lose elections; so if you think about the elections, you can still do reforms and be re-elected; calling in particular on three big core euro area countries, Germany, France and Italy, to speed up reforms at the current predicament.
||SPEECH by Bettina Wasteels, European Development Director at GDF SUEZ, (in ENGLISH) saying that more investment in shale gas would reduce dependence on oil and gas imports – and could lead to the creation of 1.1 million new jobs; calling for a more market-based energy price, and security of supply; saying that we should – of course – have a more integrated energy market; we support an open market with open competitiveness.
||SPEECH by André Sapir, Senior Fellow at Bruegel and Professor of Economics at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), (in ENGLISH) saying that Europe’s perspective had to move beyond the economic crisis; Europe faces a number of challenges like globalisation, ageing, climate change, and technology but we were basically facing them before the crisis already; they never disappeared, but the crisis was a huge diversion from these challenges; they were not properly addressed before; the need to address them has only increased as they returned to the heart of the policy discussion; speaking with a certain degree of authority on the growth question, as he had chaired one of the Commission’s High-Level Study Group’s that produced the 2003 report ‘An Agenda for a Growing Europe’, widely known as the ‘Sapir Report’, he called for a strategy that put the single market at its heart; it is sad that we are still talking about the single market, it is 2014, and we should have completed it in 1992.
||SPEECH by Anders Åslund, Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, (in ENGLISH) saying that the EU’s record during the crisis was mixed: while fiscal adjustment is on track, growth is feeble, and there is little structural reforms; Europe is not catching up, but falling further behind the United States; like Sapir, he called for the completion of the single market, particularly three big markets: services, energy and the digital economy; that could really bring Europe up to speed with the United States in a large number of functions; fifteen years ago, Europe was dominating in mobile phones, with Nokia and Eriksson – that is not the case anymore.
||SPEECH by Prof Eric J Bartelsman, professor of Economics at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam (in ENGLISH) saying that the opportunities for the EU's growth in the longer term with some technologies about to become marketable; he looked at these new technologies to unlock European assets like the human capital, land mass, and the large internal market; he pointed to the advent of autonomous vehicles, like Google cars, robotics allowing local production of even clothing, and the experiments with road trains in Sweden; the same robots can be used for healthcare or care for elderly; this technology is waiting in the laboratories, waiting to roar off; when you add up these technologies, that is 2.5% growth, far more than the 1% we are seeing.
||REMARKS by Anders Åslund (in ENGLISH) on the energy policy and on the price of the gas and answer by Bettina Wasteels (in ENGLISH)