Reforming the Euro Area: Views from inside and outside of Europe

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DATE: April 19, 2018

DAY: Thursday

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

LOCATION: IMF HQ1 – Meetings Halls A&B

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With a robust, broad-based, economic recovery, the economic news from the euro area is very good. Yet, it was not long ago that a severe economic crisis raised existential questions about the viability of the monetary union. While much has been achieved, reforms are still needed to make the euro area resilient. Which reforms are key? How can the political support for these reforms be harnessed? Will the recovery provide the opportunity to complete the job or will it take the urgency out of the agenda? The panel will offer views from senior policy officials from inside and outside of Europe on the lessons learned from the crisis, challenges still facing the euro area, and the path forward.

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Reforming the Euro Area: Views from inside and outside of Europe


Moderator: Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde has been Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund since July 2011. She held various ministerial positions within the French government, including Finance and Economy Minister (2007–11), Minister for Foreign Trade, and Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. She was also Chairman of the Global Executive Committee and Global Strategic Committee of Baker & McKenzie.

Panelist: Mário Centeno

Mário Centeno was elected President of the Eurogroup in December 2017 by euro area finance minister. Since December 2017, he also serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of the European Stability Mechanism. Mr. Centeno has been Finance Minister of Portugal since 2015. He is also a Professor at the University of Lisbon, and only began his political career in 2015. Before that, he held several positions in Portugal’s Central Bank, including as a Deputy Director of the Department of Economic Studies. He was a member of the Economic Policy Committee of the European Commission during 2004–13. Mr. Centeno has two Masters—one in Applied Mathematics from the Lisbon School of Economics and Management, and a second one in Economics from Harvard University. He holds a PhD in Economics from Harvard University.

Panelist: Jack Lew

The Honorable Jacob J. Lew served as the 76th Secretary of the Treasury from 2013–17. Prior to this role, he served as White House Chief of Staff, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources under President Obama. From 1998–2001, he also served in President Clinton’s cabinet as OMB Director. As Special Assistant to President Clinton during 1993–94, Mr. Lew helped design AmeriCorps, the national service program. He is currently a partner at Lindsay Goldberg LLC and a Visiting Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Panelist: Pier Carlo Padoan

Pier Carlo Padoan was appointed Minister of Economy and Finance in the Government led by Matteo Renzi in 2014 and confirmed by Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in 2016. He previously served as Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD during 2007–14, as well as Chief Economist from 2009. From 2001 to 2005, Mr. Padoan was the Italian Executive Director at the IMF. During his mandate, he was in charge of European coordination at the IMF Executive Board. From 1998–2001, he served as Economic Adviser to Italian Prime Ministers Massimo D’Alema and Giuliano Amato. Mr. Padoan has a degree in Economics from the University of Rome and has held various academic positions at Italian and foreign universities.

Panelist: Olaf Scholz

Olaf Scholz has been Federal Minister of Finance and Vice-Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany since March 2018. He joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in 1975; since then, he has served in various positions within the party. He was a member of the German Bundestag from 1998 to 2001 and from 2002 to 2011. In 2007, Mr. Scholz became Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, a position he held until 2009. Following this, he was appointed deputy chair of the SPD parliamentary group. From 2011 to 2018, he served as Mayor of Hamburg. Since February 2018, he has been acting chair of the SPD. Mr. Scholz holds a Law degree from the University of Hamburg.