Joachim Nagel: Stability and prosperity in Europe

Speech by Dr Joachim Nagel, President of the Deutsche Bundesbank, at the Munich European Conference "Security and Prosperity in Europe", Munich, 15 February 2024.

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

Central bank speech  | 
16 February 2024

Check against delivery

1 Words of welcome

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure and a privilege for me to speak today on the eve of the Munich Security Conference, one of the most important global events that takes place in this country every year, here at the eighth Munich European Conference, which reflects on and debates avenues that can lead to greater security and prosperity in Europe.

I am here as a central banker. That is why I have slightly modified the conference topic of "Security and Prosperity in Europe" with some care to "Stability and Prosperity in Europe" for my keynote speech. Geopolitical security is not a central banker's key topic. I would therefore ask you to interpret the few comments I make on this subject at the end of my speech as the personal views of a politically minded citizen. Stability, by contrast, is the core competence and mandate of the Eurosystem, and thus also of the Bundesbank: stability of prices, of credit institutions, of the financial system and of payments. That is our contribution to safeguarding prosperity and economic security in Europe.

2 Europe's prosperity

2.1 EU and euro have contributed to prosperity in Europe

Prosperity in Europe gained a notable boost in 1993, when the European single market was established by twelve countries at that time. Fast forward 31 years to the present day, and the single market is home to 31 European countries, 450 million people and around 24 million businesses.

In terms of goods, now everyone can be offered the same product. National regulatory rules do not require country-specific models. And products do not need to undergo approval procedures in every single country. That lessens frictions and allows larger quantities of goods to be manufactured at lower unit costs and lower prices. At the same time, the single market's common rules and standards have helped create a level playing field and thus spurred competition, economic growth and prosperity.