On Monday, October 6, 2014, the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), in cooperation with the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), hosted an off- the-record roundtable discussion on the state of the Eurozone. Commentary and insight was offered from Daniela Schwarzer of GMF, Domenico Lombardi and Miranda Xafa of CIGI, and Jacob Kirkegaard of the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics. Peter Sparding, Transatlantic Fellow in the Europe Program at GMF, moderated the discussion, Around 30 people were in attendance, including representatives from embassies, as well as the academic and corporate sectors.
Mr. Sparding initiated the off-the-record discussion by introducing the panelists and detailing GMF’s contributions to the ongoing conversation regarding the state of the Eurozone. The speakers’ opening remarks examined whether the crisis in the Eurozone is actually over. They agreed that despite the immediate and initially successful crisis management, low economic growth and high unemployment rates are persisting. It was thus noted that the incoming new European leadership will continue to face the challenge of fueling growth within the EU in a time of limited fiscal leeway.
The discussion then focused on the current state of play of governance changes in the Eurozone, exploring in particular the state of efforts to create a banking union and the European Central Bank’s new role as a bank supervisor. In addition, the ECB’s latest efforts to stimulate the Eurozone economy were assessed, with discussants pointing to the differing directions of monetary policy in the United States (potential tightening) and the EU (easing). In the following question-and-answer session, the speakers addressed several topics ranging from the effects of Russia’s economic sanctions on the EU to the possibilities of EU investment funds.