Joachim Nagel: Making the most of Europe's opportunities - reforms for greater prosperity and stability

Text of the DIW Europe Lecture by Dr Joachim Nagel, President of the Deutsche Bundesbank, at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), Berlin, 16 February 2023.

Central bank speech  | 
23 February 2023

1 Introduction

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to be with you all here today at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin to give this DIW Europe Lecture. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to talk about Europe without thinking about Ukraine. Next week, it will be one year since Russia began its war of aggression against Ukraine. This attack not only marked a much-discussed turning point, but it also has shown us, in brutally obvious terms, the devastation caused by war. People have been fleeing from missiles, losing all of their possessions, and mourning their loved ones.

With this in mind, everything that has been achieved since the end of the Second World War seems no less than a miracle. After Germany's atrocities, Europe was in ruins. Today, formerly hostile countries such as Germany and France are joined in union. Together, we have achieved peace, freedom and prosperity. And, in the European Union, we have also created a community of values.

This union is based on a political vision. It was created and advanced by figures such as Jean Monnet, Konrad Adenauer and Jacques Delors. I will be discussing all three of them later in my speech.

However, this unification process has been essentially achieved not least through the convergence of national economies. And this has been true since the very outset. For example, consider the Schuman Declaration of 1950. It led to the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community. Seven years thereafter, the Treaties of Rome expanded the single market beyond the coal, iron and steel industry.