On December 10, 2014, the Council for the Future of Europe of the Berggruen Institute and the Friends of Europe, co-hosted a seminar in Brussels on the topic of Fiscal Discipline and Public Investment.
Among the speakers and participants of the seminar was Jörg Asmussen, State Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Germany; Mateusz Szczurek, Minister of Finance, Poland; Benoit Coeuré, Executive Board, European Central Bank; and Marcel Fratzscher, President DIW, Berlin, among many others.
The group considered options for adapting the fiscal constraints imposed on national governments by the EU rules in order to encourage public investment that will stimulate growth. While the recently introduced plan by the new President of the EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker concentrates on promoting investment at the EU level, national-level investment will also be needed if Europe is to reverse its economic stagnation.
The seminar is the first in a series of activities that the Council for the Future of Europe will engage in on this topic. The concept paper – which was written to stimulate the discussion – was drafted by the Chairman of the Council, Mario Monti and senior advisor, Sylvie Goulard, and can be found here. Over the coming months, the ideas will be further developed through engagement of various leaders and other stakeholders. In addition, a follow up seminar and a public event are planned for later this year.