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Lisbon conference on investment for social inclusion

4 July 2019

LISBON – A high-level conference on investment for social inclusion, organised by the CEB and hosted by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, took place on 4 July, on the margins of the CEB’s annual Joint Meeting. The conference brought together a dozen top-notch speakers from across Europe.

Le gouverneur Rolf Wenzel s'adresse à l'auditoire
Governor Rolf Wenzel addressing the audience
The conference reviewed the role of investments in promoting social inclusion in Europe, with a focus on current demographic and inequality challenges as well as on the policy and investment options available to address these. The discussions were moderated by Carlo Monticelli, Vice-Governor of the CEB, and Clara Raposo, Dean, Lisbon School of Economics & Management.

Lisbon 2019 Panel 1.JPG
Panel 1 (left to right): Felix Ribeiro, Vassil Kirov, Kire Ilioski, Carlo Monticelli, Antonella Mei-Pochtler, and Stathis Kalyvas
The speakers discussed digital transformation, labour market fragmentation and productivity, population ageing, gender, income, and geographical inequalities, mobility as a means of advancing human development goals, populism and democracy in Europe, and current social and cultural exclusion mechanisms. Whereas points of view on the exact means to address global social challenges differed, all speakers agreed on the need to create bottom-up, local solutions, by engaging with societies and with public and private stakeholders. 

Lisbon Panel 2.JPG
Panel 2 (left to right): Maria João Rodrigues, Hilmar Schneider, Clara Cruz Santos, Clara Raposo, José Miguel Almeida, and Miguel Gaspar
In their opening addresses, Guilherme D'Oliveira Martins, Trustee of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and Rolf Wenzel, Governor of the CEB, thanked the panellists and the audience for joining the conference in Lisbon. They both appreciated that the conference represented a joint, timely initiative to engage with academics, practitioners, and policy-makers on challenges to social inclusion and to seek to identify policy solutions.

Governor Wenzel also emphasised the similarities between the Bank and the Foundation. Not only were the two institutions established at the same moment in time but they also share the same commitment to promoting social cohesion in Europe. Governor Wenzel maintained: “We do share the commitment to creating sustainable societies that provide equal opportunities for all and a better place to live in. And today, more than six decades later, it is fair to say that we have the same priorities to guide our activities: social cohesion, integration, sustainability.”

The discussions were rounded off by Carlos da Silva Costa, Governor of Banco de Portugal, who emphasised the important role of the CEB in supporting social cohesion in Europe. He also argued in favour of policy-making at the national level, focused on three sectors that are conducive to inclusive growth - education, labour market, and the business environment. Such national policies should ensure that the three sectors are flexible, able to respond efficiently to future environmental, technological, and socio-cultural shocks. Most importantly, these policies should restore agency to those at the peril of being socially excluded and allow them to contribute to sustainable growth.

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 (AAA with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable, AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook stable and Aa1 with Moody's, 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.

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