Christine Lagarde: Strengthening resilience in a changing geopolitical landscape

Welcome address by Ms Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, at the 9th ECB conference on central, eastern and south-eastern European countries, Frankfurt am Main, 17 July 2023.

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

Central bank speech  | 
17 July 2023

It is a great pleasure to open the ninth ECB conference on central, eastern and south-eastern European countries.

The CESEE region – which comprises 21 different economies[1] – can overall be considered a European success story in recent decades, having enjoyed rapid convergence towards higher-income countries.

Between 2000 and 2021, the economic size of the region almost doubled to 40% of the euro area aggregate.[2] And this strong growth has led to rising living standards, with average GDP per capita jumping from 36% to 54% of the euro area aggregate in the same period.[3]

But the world has changed dramatically since we last held this conference in 2019. A series of shocks have upended our old reality and replaced it with new uncertainties.

Devastatingly, one of those shocks has been the outbreak of war in Europe – an event that we once thought consigned to the history books. Russia's unjustified war against Ukraine and its people is a human tragedy. And it has had deep economic consequences for the CESEE region in particular.