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At DG ECFIN's Annual Research Conference held on 15 November, about 100 participants from research and policy-making circles discussed the theme: "Economic challenges of the 2020s".


Professor Paul Collier (University of Oxford) started the day with his distinguished ECFIN Lecture on “The future of capitalism”. He said we should heal the rifts between booming metropoles and broken regions and that we also need social convergence: the least successful regions and people need to catch up with the most successful.

Three subsequent sessions were devoted to specific sub-themes looking into (i) market structures and income distribution; (ii) the future proofing fiscal policies; and (iii) Europe’s role in a changing global economy.

Commissioner-designate for Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, addressed the audience by marking the most important economic challenges Europe has to tackle. He said Europe would need ‘a new approach’ to tackle the economic slowdown and future challenges and that Europe should reflect on how best to adapt its economic and fiscal surveillance framework. Europe has the potential to be a strong player on the world stage and needs to step up if it wants to be more than a mere spectator in a world determined by others, he said.

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Session I: Market structures and income distribution

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Session II: Future-proofing fiscal policies

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Panel: Europe’s role in a changing global economy

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  • 09.15 - 09.30 (Europe/Brussels)

    Welcome and introduction to the conference

    Paolo Gentiloni (Commissioner-designate)

  • 09.30 - 11.00

    Distinguished ECFIN Lecture

    Paul Collier (Oxford)
    The Future of Capitalism
    General discussion

  • 11.00 - 11.30

    Coffee break

  • 11.30 - 13.00

    Session I: Market structures and income distribution

    Pure rents and the profit share, market power concentration, rates of return, inequality of income and wealth, skills/digital divide, institutions and regulations

    Chair: Mary Veronica Tovsak Pleterski (DG ECFIN)
    Lead speaker: Thomas Philippon (New York)
    Discussion panel: Carlo Altomonte (Bocconi), Chiara Criscuolo (OECD), Jens Suedekum (DICE)  

  • 13.00 - 14.00

    Lunch break

  • 14.00 - 15.30

    Session II: Future-proofing fiscal policies

    Demographics, productivity and investment, safe assets, public investment needs and the costs of debt, Musgrave+ assignments in going grey, green and digital

    Chair: Declan Costello (DG ECFIN)
    Lead speaker: Olivier Blanchard (PIIE, Washington)
    Discussion panel: Roel Beetsma (Amsterdam), Margit Schratzenstaller (Vienna), Volker Wieland (Frankfurt)

  • 15.30 - 16.00

    Coffee break

  • 16.30 - 17.30

    Panel: Europe’s role in a changing global economy

    The future of multilateralism in the world economy, reshuffling of economic gravity centres, competition and taxation issues, role of the euro, EU homework assignments 

    Chair: Marco Buti, DG ECFIN
    Panellists: Laurence Boone (OECD), Philip Lane (ECB), Klaus Regling(ESM), Beatrice Weder di Mauro (CEPR)

    General discussion

  • 17.30 - 17.45

    Close of conference

Practical information

15 November 2019, 9.15 - 17.45 (CET)
Charlemagne Building
Rue de la Loi 170
1000 Brussels