Past Program

Mar 08 - Mar 10, 2012

Unlocking the Debt Conundrum: Paths to Growth and Fiscal Sustainability Planning Workshop

Session 488


The global economic and financial crisis put public finances under strain across the globe. Governments provided large-scale support to the financial sector, and, as the crisis spread to the real economy, also designed extensive fiscal stimulus packages, which together with revenue decline led to increases in public deficits and debt stocks. Historically, developing and emerging economies have been more susceptible to debt sustainability risks, including a risk of sovereign default. This time, however, even with the improved prospects for the global economy, sustainability of public finances has become an issue for advanced economies, marking a new era of high fiscal risks, prolonged adjustments and low growth.

Concerns about fiscal solvency in Greece, Ireland and Portugal and most recently in Spain and Italy have had particularly profound implications for the functioning of the Eurozone and the EU, raising questions about its current design and institutions. Worries have also arisen about fiscal sustainability and a looming debt crisis in the US - while the country may not have short-term liquidity problems, the combination of high deficits, aging population and high rate of growth of health care costs pose a significant long-term challenge. In Japan, high national savings rates enabled the country to finance its public deficits internally up to now, but the debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to rise further - with the rapid ageing exacerbating fiscal sustainability issues. All together, advanced economies are likely to continue to run sizable deficits in the mid-term, further exacerbating the problem of fiscal sustainability.

This planning workshop is part of the Seminar's initiative "Unlocking the Debt Conundrum: Paths to Fiscal Sustainability", which in the first stage will bring 20-25 participants from international organizations, ministries of finance from major advanced economies, central banks, renowned think tanks and private banks to conduct a global scan of fiscal risks, discuss approaches or returning to fiscal sustainability and plan a three-year series of consequent programs aimed at advancing public debate about solutions to the advanced economies' daunting fiscal and economic challenges.


Michael Arghyrou
Faculty, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff
Susan Baker
Representative for Europe, U.S. Department of Treasury, Brussels
Alexandra Böhne
Director European Policy, Monetary Union, Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce, Brussels
Elena Carletti
Professor of Economics; Joint Chair Economics Department and Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, Florence
Ágnes Csermely
Director of Monetary Strategy and Economic Analysis, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary), Budapest
Udaibir Das
Assistant Director, Monetary and Capital Markets Department, IMF
Doris Dietze
Rafael Domenech
Chief Economist for Developed Economies, BBVA Research, Madrid
Stefan Empter
Senior Director, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Gütersloh
John Fraher
Managing Editor for Economics and Government in Europe, Middle East and Africa, Bloomberg News
Anna Gelpern
Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics; Professor, American University, Washington DC
Niels Hansen
Head of the Economics Department, National Bank of Denmark
Thomas Harjes
Director, European Economic Research, Barclays Capital, Frankfurt
Peter Heller
former Deputy Director of the Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF (tentative)
Kamil Janácek
Member of the Board, The Czech National Bank, Prague
Matthew Karnitschnig
European Economics Editor, Germany Bureau Chief, The Wall Street Journal, Berlin
Wolfgang Kniese
Deputy CFO, T-Mobile, Vienna
Susan Lund
Director of Research, McKinsey Global Institute, Washington DC
Stuart Mackintosh
Executive Director, The Group of Thirty, Washington DC
Andrew Mortimer
Deputy Editor of Euromoney Country Risk
Wolfgang Münchau
Co-founder and Director, Eurointelligence, Brussels
Sergio Nicoletti-Altimari
Deputy Head, Financial Stability Unit, Banca d'Italia
Peter Praet
Member of the Executive Board, European Central Bank, Frankfurt
Carlos Alberto Primo Braga
Professor of International Political Economy, IMD, Lausanne; Director, Evian Group@IMD
Ingrid Schroeder
Director, The Pew Charitable Trust, Pew Fiscal Initiative and Subsidyscope, Washington, DC
Helene Schuberth
Senior Advisor, Economics Department, Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Vienna
Fergal Shortall
Head of International Economic Analysis at the Bank of England
Conrad Smewing
Deputy Director for Fiscal Statistics and Policy, Her Majesty's Treasury, London
Paula Subacchi
Research Director, International Economics, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, London
Simon Tilford
Chief Economist, Centre for European Reform, London
Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell
former Member of the Executive Affairs Board, European Central Bank
Jakob von Weizsäcker
Head of Department, Ministry of Economy, Labour and Technology of Thuringia; Senior Fellow, Bruegel
Norbert Walter
Manging Director, Walter & Daughters Consult; former Chief Economist, Deutsche Bank
Martin Wolf
Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times, London
David Nieh
General Manager - Knowledge Community Development, Shui On Land Development, Shanghai


Jing Ulrich of J.P. Morgan explains, "Why Salzburg?"