Pasqual Maragall Legacy

Jean Pisani-Ferry: "What will determine the success of European recovery funds is a combination of reforms and investments"



The French economist has inaugurated the cycle "What Europe do we want?", Promoted by the Catalunya Europe Foundation, with a conference dedicated to the "Next Generation EU" Funds at the Palau Macaya.

The imminent arrival of Next Generation EU recovery funds in the Member States has sparked an important debate on the use of this stimulus that should serve to promote a shift by the European Union towards a greener and more digital economy.

The relevance of this financing fund has led the Catalunya Europe Foundation to dedicate the inauguration of the debate cycle "What Europe do we want?" to European Next Gen EU funds. To this end, the Foundation has had the participation of economist Jean Pisani-Ferry, founder of the economic think tank Bruegel, advisor to the French government on public policies and professor at Science Po Paris, among others. The event also featured a discussion table with the economist Jordi Angusto, the businessman Joaquim Coello and the researcher at the Jacques Delors Institute, Eulalia Rubio. The event was moderated by the professor of Public Finance and president of the FCE Advisory Council, Antoni Castells.

For Pisani-Ferry, European funds have broken 2 taboos, on the one hand, they have made it possible to finance spending through debt and, on the other hand, a transfer mechanism is launched within the European Union. The numbers are similar to the Marshall Plan, approximately 2.5% of GDP spread over a similar time period. Unlike the Marshall Plan however, the amounts differ enormously by country. Thus, while for Germany the funds are secondary, in Bulgaria they represent 15% of GDP, in Greece 10% and in Spain, more than 5%. Be that as it may, the funds are not an immediate stimulus in the Keynesian sense, but are intended to contribute to economic transformation. As the researcher Eulàlia Rubio says, the Next Gen EU are more like a transformation plan than a stimulus plan, although they try to combine the two objectives.

The success or failure of these funds, says Pisani-Ferry, will depend on achieving a good mix of reforms and investments. In this case, the Commission takes a step back and leaves all the leading role to the States, with a control more focused on results than on specific expenditures and removes the funds from the suspicions of much more rigid controls by the Troika.

The European Union is in a process of redefinition and the Next Generations will be an important precedent. The economist affirms that its successful execution will make it easier to create a legal framework for European funds, while its failure will make the EU avoid new actions of these characteristics.

The cycle "What Europe do we want?" is co-financed by the European Parliament. This conference has had the collaboration of Fundación "la Caixa" and Europe G.