Updated: Mar 3
As part of the 21st annual Warwick Economics Summit, François Villeroy de Galhau delivered a riveting keynote address to our virtual audience on 4th February, 2022.
Below, you will find our official Summit Press Release for the event, which summarises the speech's highlights, and is accompanied by a collection of the very best quotes from François Villeroy de Galhau at WES 2022.
Warwick Economics Summit was thrilled to host Banque de France Governor, François Villeroy de Galhau, as he addressed hundreds of virtual attendees live from the Banque on February 4th. Opening with remarks about the current monetary policy of the European Central Bank (ECB), Villeroy offered crucial assurance that interest rates would remain low for now, before "liftoff" in time. He also clarified that financial decisions would retain "full optionality", and that the calendar for the these decisions would presently remain "open" and flexible.
The governor then reminded the audience of the many uncertainties about the single currency in Europe that surfaced historically. Despite these initial widespread doubts, Villeroy spoke of the contemporary and ultimate triumph of the euro: 79% of eurozone citizens support it, with the euro having increased the purchasing power of the average eurozone European by 15% since 1999.
The EU has a long way to go, though, said Villeroy, speaking of the need for further monetary and economic union. The European economy should come to function like a trimaran, he said, with "a public float" with a common fiscal capacity to cope with shocks on the one side, and "a private float" to foster better capital allocation, with a banking and capital marks union, on the other. The EU lags behind the US on this regard, reflected Villeroy, with €300bn in excessive EU savings that are otherwise unused.
Governor Villeroy went on to detail the "two great transformations" of the next 20 years: the digital and the ecological. Again, Villeroy posed that Europe lags behind the US and China in the former (digital) revolution, spending less on R&D overall and with fewer researchers. However, this is potentially being turned around with the ECB's trial of the e-euro, a new digitised currency. In the latter (ecological) transformation, however, Europe is ahead of its international competitors. Villeroy detailed how the ECB intends to spearhead efforts in the climate crisis - though it is a crisis that cannot be solved by central banks alone, and "the sooner we start the transition, the better (...) to ensure long-term sustainable growth and price stability". He also detailed the potential risk of "green-flation," though recent evidence from Germany indicates the risk of this inflation is limited.
Concluding with words about "esperance" - hope and mathematical expectation - Villeroy asserted that "daring decisions made by visionary men and women in the past decades" should be reason enough for our continued hope for the future.
“Even well-known nationalist politicians, including in my own country (...) have dropped or backed off their anti-euro stances, because they have concluded that this policy would be an electoral dead end”
“Our monetary and economic union needs to be completed. (...) On one side, we need a public float (...) we should construct according to a fiscal facility that could be activated in moments of crisis or recession. (...) On the other side, as you can see, we need a private float to foster a better capital allocation, which is just as important. The banking union and capital markets union, though somewhat boring and technical, should be absolute political priorities.”
“Climate change is accelerating obviously, and yes policies to fight climate change should imperatively include an appropriate carbon price, even if it’s not very popular. Rest assured that central banks will do their part”
“The ecological transition is an absolute imperative worldwide, but it holds risks - including inflation, as a gradual switch to greener alternatives may entail higher and more volatile prices”
“We need, urgently, more analytical work on the macroeconomic modelling of climate transition”
“The sooner we start the transition, the better. The better to ensure long term sustainable growth and price stability.”
“We lack cross-border funds. (...) Each of our funds in Europe, including in the UK, is within domestic borders mainly. So, they don’t refer to the size of the European markets, they refer to this size of the UK/France/Germany. (...) We have now a single market for goods and services - we must have a single market for financing as a whole, and for equity and venture capital in particular.”
“We are not very far from having cross-border venture capital, and I think this is clearly a case where public institutions could help. We have the EIB, European Investment Bank, with the EIF, European Investment Fund. Why not organise here a pari passu mechanism?”
Press release written by Max Vorster and Ingrid Bahnemann
VIDEO RECORDING OF THE TALK:
You will find the video recording of François Villeroy de Galhau's full talk, delivered at WES 2022, here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/onpn6vmjv9dknaj/AAAW8_FhPJirfNLNQyENpwwNa/Day%201?dl=0&lst=&preview=De+Galhau.mp4
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