Klaas Knot: Emerging from the crisis stronger together"- How we can make Europe more resilient, prosperous and sustainable

Text of the HJ Schoo lecture by Mr Klaas Knot, President of the Netherlands Bank, Amsterdam, 1 September 2020.

Central bank speech  | 
22 September 2020
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The European Union can emerge stronger from the current coronavirus crisis if its members are prepared to work together to put an end to the growth divergence within the monetary union. This was one of the points made by Klaas Knot, President of De Nederlandsche Bank this Tuesday, during the twelfth annual Schoo lecture which he gave in Amsterdam. The HJ Schoo lecture is organised by weekly current affairs magazine Elsevier and marks the start of the political year.

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Ladies and gentlemen

It is an honour to give this year's HJ Schoo lecture. I have to say, it was a bold choice from the organisers to let me loose on you for an hour. There's a YouTube video doing the rounds of me being interviewed on the current affairs programme Buitenhof. While I'm talking, text appears below explaining what it is I am actually saying. A bit like subtitles. Unfortunately, that is not a luxury I can offer you this evening. But I will try to keep the economic jargon to a minimum. Even though you seem like an audience who can keep up.

I never knew Hendrik Jan Schoo personally, so in preparing for this lecture, I went a bit deeper into the man and his work. And as I was reading about him, I started wondering how he would have felt about me-a President of De Nederlandsche Bank- being chosen to give the lecture called by his name. Schoo was primarily a political thinker, with an acute sensitivity to the deeper currents running through society. Economics did not feature prominently in his work. But there was something else that struck me about Hendrik Jan Schoo. And here I will quote from Marc Chavannes's description of him: "Schoo was a self-made man, from an everyday background. Reluctantly absorbed into the elite, he remained overtly concerned about the risks ordinary people face." That last sentence resonated with me, because I realised that also fits my job description. "Managing the risks ordinary people face." Or, to be more precise: managing the financial risks ordinary people face, over which they have no control themselves.