Robert Holzmann: Looking back on 30 years of transition - and looking 30 years ahead

Opening remarks by Dr Robert Holzmann, Governor of the Central Bank of the Republic of Austria, at the Conference on European Economic Integration (CEEI) 2015, Warsaw, Vienna, 25 November 2019.

Central bank speech  | 
11 December 2019
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Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to this year's Conference on European Economic Integration, the first in this OeNB conference series that I have the honor to open in my capacity as the Governor of the central bank of Austria.

This year's Conference on European Economic Integration (CEEI) marks a very special occasion. Exactly 30 years ago to this day, communist leaders in what was then Czechoslovakia bowed to the pressure of hundreds of thousands of protesters in the streets led by former political prisoner and the country's later president Václav Havel. Yet, it was not just frustrated citizens during the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia who rose against political suppression and central planning, which had produced shoddy economic outcomes, but people throughout the entire former Eastern bloc. As a result, the remarkable events of 1989 helped bring down the single most concrete - in every sense of the word - symbol of the 40-year division of the European continent: the Berlin Wall.