Fabio Panetta: Europe's shared destiny, economics and the law

Lectio Magistralis by Mr Fabio Panetta, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, on the occasion of the conferral of an honorary degree in Law by the University of Cassino and Southern Lazio Cassino, 6 April 2022.

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

Central bank speech  | 
22 April 2022

I am deeply honoured and proud to receive this honorary degree in Law from the University of Cassino and Southern Lazio. It comes forty years after I graduated with my first degree in economics, but the emotion is the same. What's more, it is an honorary degree in a subject that has formed an important part of my work experience.

In a certain way, I have always been a student of the law. I joined the Banca d'Italia in 1985 and since then I have devoted my entire professional life to working in public institutions.

As central bankers, we must always act "within our mandate". This is the cornerstone of our independence and the source of our legitimacy. We are servants of the law and can only use the powers that have been delegated to the central bank to fulfil the mandate it has been democratically assigned.

It has been my privilege to work with eminent figures who have contributed to progress in Italy and Europe. I was a junior economist when I met Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, then Governor of the Banca d'Italia, who went on to become Prime Minister and President of the Italian Republic.

As a Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB), I am now at the heart of European policymaking. Our tasks derive from the provisions of the European Union (EU) treaties, which provide us with guidance on how the ECB can contribute to the functioning of Europe as a whole. This is a complex endeavour, which requires us to design policies that address the current challenges within the limits of our mandate.