Welcoming Speeches: 7th ECB Simulation Conference

Training Day is the first day of each ECB Simulation Conference for university students, where distinguished representatives of institutions, the market and academia share their knowledge and experiences with the conference participants.

The Training Day of the 7th ECB Simulation Conference was held at the Amphitheater of the Karatza Megaron of the National Bank of Greece on the 15th of December 2023 (the remaining days, 16-18 of December, were held at the Troias Building of the Athens University of Economics and Business). The examined topics of the Conference were:

  • Interaction of Monetary and Fiscal Policy.
  • Inflation: causes and tools for tackling it.
  • Monetary Policy: Its response and efficiency in a Perma-Crisis environment.
  • ESG transformation in the financial sector and its challenges.
  • Challenges of adopting a Digital Euro solution.

A. Here we present the remarks of the speakers that participated in the Opening Remarks of the Conference, where we were honored to have Mr. Gikas Hardouvelis, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Bank of Greece, and the Minister of National Economy and Finance, Mr. Kostis Hatzidakis.

The opening remarks of the Training Day of the 7th ECB Simulation Conference began with Mr. Gikas Hardouvelis, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Bank of Greece. Mr. Hardouvelis proceeded to discuss the key topics of this year’s conference, focusing on the financial sector.
Specifically, he highlighted the importance of the transformation of the financial system, which was led by the National Bank of Greece, and the challenges that financial institutions face in a continuously changing environment.
Regarding the digital euro, Mr. Hardouvelis emphasized that it will have an impact on a wide range of the economy, posing challenges for both the government and the private sector. Furthermore, he addressed the topic of sustainability, stressing that financial institutions have to integrate ESG parameters into their policies and work towards reducing carbon emissions by supporting healthy businesses and capital. He further emphasized the importance of transparency in non-financial reporting.
Commenting on current market conditions, he noted that Greece has experienced a credit rating upgrade and a surge of investor interest this year, leading to a more active role for banks in the Greek economy. This has also generated increased investor interest in the performance of Greek banks and fueled demand for their shares. Mr. Hardouvelis concluded by emphasizing that economic and geopolitical developments will impact the lives of every student in the audience, regardless of their background, and for this reason, “we should be as prepared as possible”.

The opening remarks were concluded by the Minister of National Economy and Finance, Mr. Kostis Hatzidakis, who highlighted the high standard of the ECB Simulation Conference and expressed his confidence in the ability of young people to safeguard the European Economic Future.
Mr. Hatzidakis continued his address by delving into the topics of the conference. He emphasized the interdependence of monetary and fiscal policy, underscoring the necessity for fiscal policy to adhere to a framework of budgetary discipline. Turning to the issue of inflation, he stressed the need to identify the root causes of inflation across Europe to better control and limit its volatility.
He emphasized the daily and international balancing act required to maintain inflation at the desired level while addressing challenges faced by traditional economic models in “perma crisis” conditions.
On the topic of the digital euro, Mr. Hatzidakis emphasized its complementary and parallel operation with existing payment methods. He deemed as essential for economies to embrace the digital euro and adapt to it, and for the technical, political, and economic groundwork to be developed to foster innovation and safeguard financial institutions’ integrity.
Concluding his remarks, Mr. Hatzidakis acknowledged that differing viewpoints are inevitable in discussions of this nature. He regarded the ‘heretics’ as the visionary builders of the future. He emphasized that “the future can indeed be within our grasp if we approach it with knowledge, passion, and determination”.

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