Presenting the Key Note Speeches of the 6th ECB Simulation Conference

In her speech, Mrs. Papaconstantinou highlighted the main factors behind the inflationary pressures that the Eurozone is currently facing, as well as the monetary policy measures taken to address the problem, focusing on the future challenges that monetary policy will have to tackle in the near future. On the other hand, Mr. Vujčić referred to the benefits of adopting the euro, the low economic costs of joining compared to the benefits and concluded his speech by presenting the current state of EMU and the considerable effort required for a state to succeed in becoming a member. Finally, Mr. Glöckler highlighted in his speech the important role of communication and the progress the ECB has made in this area, underlined the important role of the National Central Banks in communicating policy and concluded by describing ways in which the ECB is trying to simplify and modernize policy communication.

Mrs. Papaconstantinou, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Greece, in her keynote speech discussed the drivers of inflation in the euro area, the Eurosystem’s monetary policy response and some policy considerations going forward. Mrs. Papaconstantinou pointed out the soaring energy prices, the significant supply bottlenecks (both factors exacerbated by the war in Ukraine) and the recovery in demand following the lift of the restrictions that were imposed to curb the pandemic as the main factors of the increase of inflation. Mrs. Papaconstantinou continued by noting that the appropriate response for monetary policy in order to safeguard price stability is to proceed in a gradual but determined manner, incorporating optionality and flexibility. Finally, Mrs. Papaconstantinou emphasized that when deciding on the path of monetary policy normalization, the factors that need to be considered are the increasing risk of a recession, the transmission lags of the decisions that aim to tackle inflation, the fact that the inflation in the euro area is mainly supply-driven and the potential spillover effects relating to the synchronized tightening of monetary policies across the world. Monetary policy needs to remain an anchor of stability and confidence that inflation will return to its target in a timely manner.

Mr. Vujčić, Governor of the Croatian National Bank, in his keynote speech addressed the motivation for the adoption of the euro and discussed the current situation of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Referring to the economic benefits of adopting the euro, Mr. Vujčić emphasized on the lower exposure to foreign exchange risk, on the higher capacity to respond to financial crises and external shocks and on the lower transaction and borrowing costs, while adding other benefits such as the reputational gain of Croatia and the participation in the decision making processes of the euro area. Mr. Vujčić pointed out that the economic costs of adopting the euro are small, noting mainly the loss of monetary autonomy, one-off changeover costs and a negligible increase in consumer prices. Finally, Mr. Vujčić presented the current situation of the EMU and in particular the tightening of the conditions for the adoption of the euro, which forces the candidate member states to make considerable efforts to join and marks significant changes in the institutional organization of the EMU.

Mr. Glöckler, Principal Adviser of the ECB’s Directorate General Communications, highlighted in his speech the important role of the ECB’s communication policy and how it affects all stakeholders in the economy. He continued his speech by presenting the progress that the ECB has made and continues to make in the field of communication in order to strengthen its credibility in an environment of polarization, controversy and low trust, and underlined the important role of the National Central Banks in communicating policy to national audiences. He also stressed the importance of dialogue with young people through activities such as the ECB Simulation Conference and mentioned the need to broaden this dialogue. In addition, Mr. Glöckler raised the issue of the current lack of understanding of the ECB’s purpose and role by the general public, which creates a gap in the trust they have in the institution. Finally, he described ways in which the ECB is trying to simplify and modernize policy communication in order to meet the challenge.

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