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CEB anniversary conference debates challenges to Europe’s social and economic model

9 December 2016

© Sylvie Dupic
© Sylvie Dupic
PARIS - The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) organised a high-level conference entitled “Challenges to More Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in Europe” in Paris on 9 December 2016, towards the end of its 60th anniversary year.

The event brought together world-renowned economists, policymakers and academics to discuss ways of ensuring that Europe’s social and economic model remains sustainable (the full programme of the one-day event can be consulted on www.coebank.org). More than 150 participants attended the conference, which was hosted on the premises of the Caisse des Dépôts Group.

The event was opened by CEB Governor Rolf Wenzel, who expressed the CEB’s satisfaction with hosting a debate so rich in expertise. In his address, Governor Wenzel set the tone by recalling that the series of challenges facing Europe and the gloomy state of European affairs at large not only threatened the European idea in general but also had serious direct repercussions for disadvantaged groups. “Today’s conference,” he underlined, “provides an opportunity to discuss and understand the challenges that pose an obstacle to sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe, and collectively explore possible ways forward."

Four expert panels debated challenges to Europe’s social and economic model against the background of persistently low growth rates and chronic youth unemployment, which threaten the economic and societal prospects of an entire generation.

In the context of the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe, the panellists also discussed the risks and opportunities of migration. This is an issue of particular concern to the CEB, which has a historic mandate to aid the integration of refugees and migrants.

© Sylvie Dupic
© Sylvie Dupic
Recognising that rising inequalities have resulted in an anti-globalisation backlash and fanned nationalistic sentiments across the continent, the panellists engaged in an exchange of views on policies and instruments which could help to restore the people’s trust in the European social and economic model.

The French Minister for the Economy and Finance, Michel Sapin, delivered the closing address where he emphasized the relevance of the work of the CEB in the service of European cooperation and solidarity through concrete projects and concrete answers to European citizen’s concerns.

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 41 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AA+ with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable and AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.