François Villeroy de Galhau: European solidarity put to the test by the health crisis

Speech by Mr François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Bank of France, at the digital conference at the Bocconi University, Milan, 14 May 2020.

Central bank speech  | 
15 May 2020
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Ladies and Gentlemen, cari professori e studenti, 

I am delighted to share this moment with you. I would like to extend my warmest thanks to all of those who made this virtual meeting possible in particular Rector Gianmario Verona, and Vice-Rector Stefano Caselli together with Francesco Daveri. To me, Bocconi represents a major source of influence for European integration. Think of some great "bocconiani" who played a fundamental role in building our Economic union: from Luigi Einaudi - the father of the fathers of Europe - to my friend Mario Monti. I also want to honour the memory of Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa who passed away ten years ago. In the difficult times we are facing, his vision and ability to translate European ideals into active fights - such as the euro - remain inspirational. 

Today I stand before you as a committed European, a central banker, but also a friend of Italy. I first and foremost want to express my deep solidarity: Italy - like France - has been one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic. I am also well aware of the criticism about Europe being too slow or reluctant to help. So my purpose today is a challenging one, as I will address the issue of Europe's alleged lack of solidarity. I will first argue that in fact Europe - and the Eurosystem at the frontline - has broadly risen to the challenge during this acute phase of the crisis. But we need to do more, and I will then sketch the broad outlines of an effective and collective exit strategy.