Christine Lagarde: Fostering sustainable growth in Europe

Keynote speech by Ms Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, at the European Banking Congress, Frankfurt am Main, 20 November 2020.

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

Central bank speech  | 
20 November 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has rightly focused minds on the here and now - on saving lives and securing livelihoods. Our immediate priority has been to protect the economy until widespread immunity is achieved. Yet the pandemic also provides the opportunity to reassess how we will organise our economy in the future. Today's conference, on the topic of "Towards a New Sustainable Growth Model", comes at just the right moment.

By necessity, the pandemic has accelerated our wider and more common use of digital technology. We have adjusted how we work, how we shop and how we pay.

Nearly 50% of Europeans say they have worked from home during the pandemic. E-commerce increased by almost one-fifth during the first lockdown, and it stayed at that level even after restrictions were lifted. We have seen a surge in online payments and a shift towards contactless: about 40% of respondents to a recent survey say they have reduced their use of cash.