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Jose Manuel Barroso

Patron of the Global Economic Symposium 2010


Since the last meeting of the GES, Europe has been dealing with critical policy choices especially regarding the economy. Europe has shown it will stand up and be counted. But we have managed to get our act together, prevent a major systemic collapse, and lay the foundations for a new stage in economic integration.

However, we are not out of the woods yet and many uncertainties still linger. Much will depend on the determination and consistency with which we all address the issues that still stand in the way of a successful exit strategy. You will discuss them all here: the way in which central banking is coordinated across countries and continents as well as with fiscal and macroeconomic policy; how to tackle sovereign debt crises; the way in which industrial and social innovation can be coupled with solidarity and inclusion; and the policies that should be put in place (globally and locally) in terms of natural and human resources to ensure sustainability and provide effective governance.

Indeed, we need to develop instruments of close cooperation and coordination and, even more importantly, a culture for such cooperation and coordination. Globalization has made our world more interdependent, spreading not only opportunities but also vulnerabilities: from capital flows to human migrations, from natural disasters to criminal activities, everything moves very fast from one region to another. Responses have to be coordinated and cooperative: there is no zero-sum game to play. We all have a stake in successful outcomes.

In this respect, the process of European integration—as we know it and keep deepening—does have useful lessons to teach: lessons about overcoming past conflicts, lowering existing barriers, pooling limited resources, addressing imbalances, sharing burdens, and building consensus. We hope that such achievements can inspire the wider international community to find adequate responses to our common challenges.

Let me wish once again, as patron of this distinguished Symposium, a very lively and fruitful discussion. The outstanding level of the participants is a guarantee that the results will be stimulating and rewarding for all. As usual, I look forward to them.

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