Luis de Guindos: Climate change and financial integration

Keynote speech by Mr Luis de Guindos, Vice-President of the European Central Bank, at the joint ECB and European Commission conference on "European Financial Integration and Stability", Frankfurt am Main, 27 May 2021.

Central bank speech  | 
28 May 2021

Introduction

For Europe, financial integration and stability are two sides of the same coin – a symbiotic relationship where greater integration aids stability, and stability underpins greater integration. Equally, financial fragmentation can exacerbate instability, as the global financial crisis clearly showed.

Climate change – the topic of this afternoon's session – poses an emerging threat to financial stability. Yet, as I will discuss in my remarks today, it also presents us with an opportunity to forge deeper integration in order to tackle this common challenge. Policies that foster stronger and more resilient financial integration within the euro area are needed more urgently than ever.

Financial integration in the euro area

Let me begin with a quick recap of why financial integration matters.When a negative  shock hits the whole euro area, monetary policy can act to mitigate the impact on output and inflation. But when a shock hits an individual country or region – known as an asymmetric shock – other mechanisms are required. In this situation, financial integration can help mitigate the impact through improved public and private risk-sharing.

Lower economic activity following the shock typically reduces the profitability of local banks and stymies credit creation. Continued lending from other parts of the euro area can therefore help cushion the impact and support consumption and investment. In addition, holding foreign bonds – which are less affected by the asymmetric shock – helps maintain income and support domestic consumption. In the United States, these channels alleviate around 60% of the impact of state-level shocks on GDP growth, compared with just 20% in the euro area. Indeed, the contribution of credit smoothing in the euro area was negative during the global financial crisis as cross-border credit provision evaporated, worsening the recessions in the periphery.