>@Shirin Wheeler/EIB
Werner Hoyer joins financial leaders to debate Europe’s way forward ©Shirin Wheeler/EIB

The resilience of Europe’s economic and financial system to future shocks and crises as well as finding the key to sustainable growth were at the centre of a discussion that brought together EU Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, Yves Mersch of the European Central Bank, the European Stability Mechanism’s Chief Executive Officer Klaus Regling and EIB President Hoyer. To offer an out-of-Europe perspective, Andrew Sheng – a former financial regular in Asia – joined the panel organised by the DZ Bank on the margins of the IMF/World Bank Group meetings this week in Bali.

“We already see a more resilient economic and monetary union in action – but it doesn’t mean our work is over”, said Commissioner Dombrovskis whose portfolio includes financial stability and Capital Markets Union at the European Commission. 

According to President Hoyer, that work must be focused on addressing Europe’s structural weaknesses and the lack of sufficient investment in research and development and education, which he said means “we are losing competiveness day by day”. He also flagged the state of Europe’s existing infrastructure, which he described as in urgent need of rehabilitation.

The debate offered an opportunity to inform the packed room of the EIB’s recently-launched Sustainability Awareness Bonds. “When we first launched the Green Bonds, they thought we were lunatics! But they were a success and now we have launched the Sustainability Awareness Bonds. These will initially be for water projects and probably later for health and education. I think we can develop a market, which will help us finance the Sustainable Development Goals.”

President Hoyer concluded, “But we need to speak about the SDGs in economic terms not as part of a charity project. We need to bring in the private sector and to do that we need to speak their language.”