François Villeroy de Galhau: What economic sovereignty for Europe? Facing the threats with lucidity, and boldly seizing an opportunity

Inaugural lesson by Mr François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Bank of France, at the Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po Paris, Paris, 18 September 2019.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
19 September 2019

Mr Director, Dean (dear Enrico),

Ladies and gentlemen, teachers, dear students,

It gives me great pleasure to speak before you today. I follow in the footsteps of several Ministers of Foreign Affairs, including Jean-Yves Le Drian and Nathalie Loiseau. Caro Enrico, thank you for your invitation, knowing this makes me feel all the more grateful and honoured! The decision to switch from diplomats to a central banker such as myself perhaps sends out three signals. First, rarely have geopolitics and economics been so closely intertwined. Faced with the rise in protectionist tensions and the verbal volleys, which unfortunately intensified again this summer, some even say that economic interdependence - the "sweet ties of commerce" praised by Montesquieu - is the only thing still shielding us from military conflict. Conversely, rarely has a global economic slowdown been so clearly attributable to political causes: nearly everywhere, public policy instability and uncertainty are on the rise and are damaging private sector confidence; I shall come back to this.

Second signal: rarely have central banks been called upon to do so much.