On the 23rd March 2018, the European Council will adopt conclusions on the 2018 European Semester and on the economic policy of the euro area. In the recent years, we have done a great deal to make the Eurozone more resilient to economic shocks, but more can be yet achieved to foster structural convergence. Investment is paramount in this respect. In the EU and in the Eurozone, the share of public investment to GDP, has declined sharply since the financial crisis, reaching the lowest level on record in 2016. Rather than acting as a counterbalance, capital spending by the public sector fell disproportionately due to overstretched budgets, whilst at the global level the G20 in Hamburg estimated that 3,8 per cent of world GDP will be needed to finance general infrastructure by 2030. In the EU, investment in infrastructure has now stopped declining, but it has stabilised at 20% below pre-crisis levels, thus affecting Europe’s long-term growth potential, as well as hampering the process of economic convergence in the Eurozone. Moreover, decline in infrastructure investment was greatest in the countries that score worse in terms of infrastructure quality.
Through this panel discussion – part and parcel of the cycle “Anders miteinander” (“different together”) promoted by the Italian Embassy in Berlin – scholars and central bankers from Italy and Germany will assess the current European debate on deepening EMU and on the future of the EU finances. In a joint paper published on the 20th February, German and Italian Finance Ministries set out their ideas for redesigning the EU long-term budget, highlighting that, by better use of existing funds, European expenditure can foster economic convergence and contribute to a strong Economic and Monetary Union, whilst growth potential should become the main objective for the structural funds. The joint paper also called for a new approach to European public goods, vouching for cross-border common investment initiatives, which can spur growth potential and contribute to the completion of the single market in terms of Innovation Union, the Digital Union and the Energy Union.
Dr. Carlo Bastasin, Senior Fellow at LUISS School of European Political Economy, Rome; Senior Fellow at Brookings Institute, Washington D.C.
Prof. Dr. Friedrich Heinemann, Head of Department, Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim
Dr. Marco Magnani, Deputy Director General for Economics, Statistics and Research, Bank of Italy, Rome
Dr. Luca Paolazzi, Economist and Journalist
Jens Ulbrich, Director General Economics, Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt am Main
Moderated by: Dr. Klaus G. Deutsch, Chief Economist, Federation of German Industries, Berlin
The panel discussion – followed by a Q&A session with the public – will take stock of the debate and highlight prospects for the future.
For registration please click here.