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How can EU member states achieve fiscal consolidation without putting at risk economic growth and social inclusion? How could a regulatory framework for the European fiscal union look like, and what is to be done to prevent growing income and wealth inequality in Europe? The fourth Annual Conference of the SEEK (Strengthening Efficiency and Competitiveness in the European Knowledge Economies) research programme at ZEW addressed these questions on May 15-16.

Hans Eichel, Thomas Kohl, Vitor Gaspar, PhD, Dr. Franziska Brantner, Dr. Nils Schmid and Prof. Dr. Clemens Fuest (from left)
Hans Eichel, Thomas Kohl, Vitor Gaspar, PhD, Dr. Franziska Brantner, Dr. Nils Schmid and Prof. Dr. Clemens Fuest (from left)

Some 150 participants from the fields of politics, economics, academia, and public administration attended the first day of the conference, which featured a speech by former German Federal Minister of Finance Hans Eichel on Europe’s role in global power dynamics. In the second keynote speech, Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Finance and Economics, Nils Schmid, argued that the European Union reorganise its institutional framework and reformulate its policy goals to regain the confidence of Europe’s citizens. Giuseppe Bertola (EDHEC Business School), Franziska Brantner (Member of the Bundestag), Karl Pichelmann (European Commission) and Kai Konrad (Max Planck Institute) participated in a round table discussion on the implementation of a European fiscal union. Furthermore, former Portuguese Minister of Finance Vítor Gaspar elaborated on the lessons Europe should learn from the financial history of the US.

The second conference day with some 190 participants was devoted to a number of scientific presentations as well as to speeches by Hans Peter Grüner (University of Mannheim) and Thomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics). Professor Grüner shedded light on Europe’s economic policy institutions from a scientific point of view. Professor Piketty discussed some of the conclusions drawn in his book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century", in which he issues a warning about the growing gulf between rich and poor.

For additional information and the conference programme, please visit the conference website

Prof. Dr. Clemens Fuest, Prof. Thomas Piketty, PhD, Prof. Dr. Hans Peter Grüner, Thomas Kohl, and Prof. Dr. Andreas Peichl  (v.l.)
Prof. Dr. Clemens Fuest, Prof. Thomas Piketty, PhD, Prof. Dr. Hans Peter Grüner, Thomas Kohl, and Prof. Dr. Andreas Peichl (v.l.)
Date

15.05.2014

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