Economic and Financial Affairs

About the Brussels Economic Forum

The Brussels Economic Forum is the European Union’s premier platform for debate on economic issues.

It was set up in 2000 in the wake of the euro’s launch the year before. Now an annual event, it stimulates debate on the economic challenges facing the EU.

The Forum is an opportunity to meet participants that include government authorities, international organisations, financial institutions, social partners, academics and the media.

With top-level speakers, it also brings economic policy-making discussions out from technical committees behind closed doors. The Forum provides an open arena where a wider audience can follow and participate in the debates.

Previous speakers at the Forum have included:

  • Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director, IMF and former Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry for France
  • Pascal Lamy, General Director, WTO
  • Jean-Claude Trichet, President, European Central Bank
  • José Manuel Barroso, President, European Commission
  • Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg and President of the Eurogroup
  • Current and former European Commissioners like Joaquín Almunia, Danuta Hübner, Pedro Solbes, and Yves-Thibault de Silguy
  • Ministers of Finance like Didier Reynders (Belgium), Peer Steinbrück (Germany), and Wouter Bos (The Netherlands)
  • Highly reputed economists like Jeremy Rifkin, Adam Posen and Jean Pisani-Ferry

The first Brussels Economic Forum, in May 2000, gathered just 500 participants.

Since then, it has more than doubled its guest list: in 2008, close to 1200 people registered for the Forum, including over 100 journalists.

Over the years, the topics under discussion have changed too.

With Economic and Monetary Union just over a year old, the main theme of the first Forum was how to spur growth and employment. Since then, the Forum has seen debates on issues like global imbalances, the economic impact of ageing, regulating stock markets and the achievements of Economic and Monetary Union ten years on.

Today, the Forum is more open than ever to fresh ideas from all around the world. In the face of economic crisis it plays a crucial role in promoting creative discussion about issues that matter to everyone in Europe.