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Growth and jobs in Europe: the way forward

19-21 May 2016

A NOTE BY THE DIRECTOR                                                             DITCHLEY 16/05


Introduction


Spring in all its Ditchley glory found us looking at economic prospects in Europe, particularly in the Eurozone, and struggling to be optimistic despite the weather. There was a good deal of lively disagreement around the table about the macroeconomic origins of the current malaise, and the right ways out of it, but a good deal more consensus on other sensible and useful things which Europe collectively and European countries individually could do to boost growth and employment. The debate took place against the background of a British EU referendum campaign in full flow but guidance from our British Chair helped us avoid diving too far down that rabbit hole. We did not always distinguish as carefully as we might have done between Europe as a whole, the EU and the Eurozone. With luck it will be clear from the context which target we had in mind at different parts of the discussion but much of the concern was about the management of the Eurozone and its inadequacies.

Summary

The recent uptick in Eurozone growth prospects, while encouraging, was not enough to quell concerns about lack of dynamism and high unemployment, and the apparent malaise currently affecting most European economies. In many countries, debt and deficit levels were still too high, and investment and productivity too low. If another crisis struck, it was not clear where mitigating action could come from, given existing quantitative easing levels, and lack of fiscal headroom. Of course different countries were in different situations, and there were no one-size-fits-all answers.

Even allowing for differentiation, there was little agreement among participants either on the macroeconomic causes of the problems, or on the solutions. Some saw the problem as lack of demand, feared ‘secular stagnation’, and wanted more fiscal stimulus to counter this. Others believed more debts and deficits would only make things worse, and the need was for more structural reform to increase competitivity. So far, so familiar. But there was also an interesting side discussion on whether growth in future would in any case produce more jobs, given the apparent tendency of much new technology to reduce employment, or perhaps lower the quality of future jobs.

We looked in detail at where the obstacles to faster European growth might lie, from undue pessimism, through poor decision-making and lack of clarity about the right levels for decisions, to inherent protection of incumbents, inadequate innovation support, and demography. Resistance to change was often a fact of life in Europe. One fundamental issue to come through was a poor financial and political context for SMEs to get going and to grow rapidly. We also examined the advantages of Europe: such things as its huge consumer market, well-educated workforces, open economies, quality of life, successful companies and rich history. There was plenty to admire as well as to worry about, and a generation of clever entrepreneurs just waiting to change the world.

So what should the EU and particularly the Eurozone do? Muddling through would not be enough, even if a complete revolution in economic and social attitudes might be too much to expect. We therefore identified a number of steps which could really make a difference. Top of these was completion of the single market for services, as well as in other areas such as digital products and energy. Member states had to support Commission efforts to make this happen. Others covered better public support for innovation, perhaps on US lines; financial sector reform to help get more funds to business, particularly SMEs; more spending on infrastructure; stronger support for international free trade and investment; clearer rules on subsidiarity; less shifting of blame onto Brussels as a means of avoiding national action; and less self-flagellation. We agreed that 75% of the action needed was at national level.

There were plenty of other structural reforms, for example in labour markets, education and skills, and liberalisation of protected professions and sectors, which were needed. But how far did we really know what worked and how such measures could be accompanied by policies to mitigate the negative effects, and be explained to sceptical publics, including the inevitable losers? Reforms were obviously easier in good times than bad, but a crisis and a degree of external pressure could sometimes be the only way to stimulate real change, as the recent Irish example had shown. In any case organisations like the IMF and the OECD did have evidence and case studies of what could and should be done, and how. Help was therefore available.

We also looked at how the EU could change institutionally and politically to help foster more growth and jobs. Here we ran into other differences about how far ‘more Europe’ might be the answer, as well as into arguments between supporters and opponents of Eurozone fiscal union or debt mutualisation. There ought to be room for a grand bargain here, but it was far from clear whether this would ever prove politically possible, even in a new crisis. Meanwhile, various ideas about improving the image and functioning of the EU were put forward, ranging from a different financial basis for the budget, through more explicit variable geometry, to change to the European Parliament.

Overall we did not believe that there was anything fatal about Europe’s economic malaise, despite a resistance to creative disruption, which had helped the US. A few good policy choices and an injection of optimism about the future could release new energies. But there was a lot of concern about the fragility and lack of underlying legitimacy of EU institutions at this stage of development. That might well make recovery and future dynamism more difficult. A British referendum decision to leave the EU would certainly not help this.

Main Note

The current state of the European economy

There was broad agreement that the Eurozone’s performance had improved a little recently, with the growth rate overall likely to reach around 1.5% in 2016. This was encouraging, but hardly enough to make a serious impact on continuing high levels of unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, in a number of Eurozone countries. Investment remained low and productivity levels stagnant. The zone as a whole was running a large current account surplus, with countries like Germany and Netherlands having particularly high surpluses. But this seemed to reflect imbalances in the system rather than underlying competitivity of the zone as a whole. Debt and deficit levels were still too high in many countries and the financial sector continued to face difficulties in some countries too. Overall the Eurozone still seemed to be stuck in a period of malaise and low growth, with little expectation of rapid recovery for now.

All this was particularly worrying when the European Central Bank (ECB) was continuing to inject large amounts of money into the system, and there was little obvious fiscal room for manoeuvre, given the continuing debt overhang. If a new crisis or shock hit, externally or internally, which could by no means be ruled out, there were few obvious tools left in the toolbox to mitigate its effects. In any case, more quantitative easing and negative interest rates would surely not prove to be the solution to current problems, even if there was little choice for now. They did not seem to be changing the current savings glut. At some future point, action to reduce/write off debt for some countries might be necessary and desirable. The Eurozone was also particularly vulnerable to a global slowdown because of its reliance on the large current account surplus.

This was where agreement on the macroeconomics ended. When it came to what should be done to get growth moving again, there was a major divergence between those pointing to ‘stagdeflation’, and saying that lack of demand was the basic problem, that more austerity-style reforms would only make things worse, and that therefore a stimulus package was needed to increase demand; and those, largely but not only from Germany, arguing that the last thing the Eurozone economies needed was more deficit financing and debt, and that the only way out of the mess was to implement the supply-side structural reforms to improve competitivity everyone knew were necessary. Those in the former camp pointed to the risk of secular stagnation and the need to avoid the fate of Japan over the last 20 years. It was argued by those in the latter camp that the fiscal stance of the Eurozone had already become neutral or mildly expansionary, and that while there might be more scope for domestic stimulus in Germany, that was certainly not the case elsewhere.

We also noted another significant impasse over where the Eurozone should go next. All were agreed that it could not function sustainably without much greater political and economic integration. But should the priority be much greater integration on the fiscal and financial sides (fiscal union), with more central monitoring/control of national budgets? Or should it be a move to mutualisation of debt and the kind of “transfer union” the Germans had always opposed? In principle, the answer might be a grand bargain where both things were agreed simultaneously, but for now this did not seem politically possible in most Eurozone countries. A further crisis might force it to happen but even then the politics could be toxic in various countries, including Germany.

There was perhaps a bigger question behind this, namely the sustainability of a currency with so many members whose economies were still so different (convergence was not only absent but the gaps were getting bigger). But this was beyond the scope of the conference to consider.

Moving on from the macroeconomics of the Eurozone, we recognised that in practice the economic situations of individual countries in Europe were in fact very different, both inside and outside the Eurozone. Germany had reasonable growth and low unemployment but low investment and a growing share of low-income workers. The UK also had reasonable growth and low unemployment but concerns about job quality and low wage growth. France had low growth and structurally high unemployment. Spain also had high unemployment as well as low living standards after a huge real wage adjustment. Sweden was doing well on most fronts. Italy’s economy had not grown in real terms in more than 15 years, faced high unemployment and had serious banking problems. And so on.

Moreover, there were also very significant differences between regions within countries. In Italy, the cities of the north had very different economic conditions from the Mezzogiorno. In Denmark, the area around Copenhagen was growing much faster than the rest of the country. Similar points could be made about almost any European country.

There was nothing new about any of this. Such variations had always existed. But it should make us wary of too many generalisations about Europe’s problems and Europe’s malaise, and aware that one-size-fits-all solutions would not do.

Part of the background to our discussion was the issue of whether faster growth and greater use of new technologies would in fact produce more jobs. Some participants suggested that we might have reached a stage where digital progress was removing the friction from transactions in ways which also removed the jobs. Google had a bigger turnover than Volkswagen but employed one tenth as many people. Where were the new jobs to come from? Others were sceptical of this thesis. The same fear had accompanied every technological revolution in the past but had always proved false. We might not be able to say now where the new jobs would come from, but they would emerge as they had before. A better-founded fear might be that a higher proportion of the jobs in future would be in caring professions and personal services, which were currently badly rewarded and in some cases under-skilled. Action to change this paradigm would be needed.

What’s bad about Europe / the EU?


At different points in the conference, we tried to identify where the major problems really lay. The following elements were pointed to, in no particular order:

  • Psychology: pessimism about the future was pervasive in many places in Europe, exacerbated by fears about the impact of globalisation and technological change. This gloom was not only overdone, but was also itself destructive.

  • Legitimacy: the EU and the Eurozone both lacked legitimacy, partly because they were relatively recent creations. This was particularly corrosive when times were bad. Efforts to create legitimacy through good results had not so far really worked.

  • Falling public support for the EU: attempts to create a European “demos” and European identity had not yet succeeded, and nationalism and populism were dangerously on the rise.

  • Poor decision-making, at both EU and national level: disagreements and ineffective institutions were preventing even relatively obvious decisions being taken at European level. At national level; the tendency to blame problems on Brussels fostered failure to address fundamental problems in national economies and societies.

  • Implementation capacity: the ability to implement even the decisions which were taken varied dramatically between different countries. Effective national institutions still needed to be built in some newer members.

  • Subsidiarity: lack of clarity about the division of responsibility between EU, national, regional and local levels was still a major handicap.

  • Leadership: not enough of it anywhere.

  • The privileging of incumbency/corporatism: the system tended to protect big companies in established positions and individuals who already had jobs, and to work against those trying to break in. There was not enough creative disruption or willingness to change.

  • Barriers to business: single market still very far from complete in many areas, particularly services.

  • Discouraging context for start-ups:  “the best advice is to go to the US”.

  • Innovation weaknesses: plenty of good science and research but failure to get the results to market at scale.

  • Financial sector under strain: lack of capital and too many underperforming loans weakening banks’ ability and willingness to lend to business.

  • Fundamental misallocation of resources: no overall shortage of money, but not enough of it used productively, e.g. too much tied up in high-priced property.

  • Rising inequality: disparities between incomes at top and bottom were growing rapidly, and the share of wealth going to labour declining. This was bad economically as well as socially and politically.

  • Demography: rapidly ageing societies and declining populations in some countries, though by no means all.

Europe’s advantages

These problems were matched by a significant number of plus points:

  • Huge consumer market: about 500 million people, most relatively well-off.

  • Open economies: essentially favourable to free trade and investment.

  • Successful companies: while governments and analysts might be gloomy, plenty of companies were just getting on with developing their products and making money.

  • Good research and technology, even if under-exploited commercially.

  • Education and skills: well-educated and well-trained workforces.

  • Infrastructure: good transport links and other basic services, even if still plenty of room for improvement in places.

  • Democracy: basic stability and predictability of governance.

  • Continuing capacity for deal-making: while slow, Europe’s governments and institutions did still make decent decisions when they had to, for example during the financial crisis.

  • Rich history: a wealth of cultural and other assets.

  • Quality of life: still the best place in the world to live overall, with good social safety nets.

  • Attraction for migrants: not seen by everyone as a plus point obviously, but important given the demography.

Overall, these were assets which any other region in the world would envy. Some of them could no doubt lend themselves to inertia and complacency, but there was no fatality about this. There was a lively, entrepreneurial, digitally aware and cosmopolitan young population raring to make a difference in the world and stimulate growth and creativity, if given half a chance.

So what should European countries / the EU do?

There was agreement around the table that Europe could not settle for a long-term growth trend of 1-1.5% per year. This would not be enough to improve living standards and retain the best talents, and would condemn Europe to long-term relative decline, as other regions grew faster. It was perhaps not reasonable to expect a rapid revolution in European decision-making or easy readiness to accept the kind of economic and social disruption which could allow new private sector giants to emerge, as in the US. There would therefore no doubt be a large element of muddling through, at which Europe had always been good. But this could not be sufficient. Stagnation and paralysis would be the inevitable result. Even if the underlying macroeconomic arguments set out in the first section above could not be resolved, and the futures of the EU and the Eurozone might continue to lack definitional clarity, there were still a good number of steps which could be taken to increase economic dynamism and encourage job creation. Not all these were agreed by everyone, but they provide a good menu:

  • Completion of the single market: this was universally seen as the policy which could make the biggest difference. Creating a genuine single market in services, digital products and energy, inter alia, was vital. The Commission could be bolder in making proposals but the key lay with member states, which needed to stop paying lip service to the principle while blocking change in practice, for narrow domestic reasons. Germany was among the biggest culprits here. Liberalisation of sectors and professions to prevent rent-seeking could make a big difference.

  • Innovation: public finance was needed to take risks that the market would not and could not take on. There was a lot of interest in the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) approach, which financed both blue sky research and mission-oriented innovation. Creating something similar in Europe (not linked to defence) would be worth exploring. The present Horizon 2020 scheme was seen as too bureaucratic. The European Research Council (ERC) was better, but still too small.

  • Opening of markets: the risk of greater protectionism was always with us and had to be fought off on a constant basis. Agreeing the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and ratifying the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) would be great steps forward, despite growing public opposition in some countries. Europe needed to be more proactive and speak more with one voice in the free trade and investment area.

  • Financial sector reform: some banks still needed further cleaning up and recapitalisation. Dodging this was counterproductive. Other sources of funding for business, particularly start-ups, were also needed. Completion of the banking union and more integration of capital markets could be very helpful.

  • Restructuring the EU budget: the proportion spent on the Common Agricultural Policy and structural funds to help poorer regions was still too high, crowding out more productive uses of money.

  • Infrastructure: current spending was too low, at both national and European levels. Greater public and private investment in both hard and soft infrastructure (when money was available at such historically low rates) would be good for both short-term demand and longer-term productivity.

  • Openness to new technology: public fears about data security were understandable but Europe would suffer from digital isolation and miss the benefits of big data if it were not careful. Similarly, opposition to genetic modification (GMOs) in agriculture often did not seem to be well-founded from a scientific point of view.

  • Increasing minimum wages: this could reduce inequality and increase demand (as was already being tried in e.g. the UK and Germany).

  • Decision-making: greater determination to take decisions in a timely fashion and greater clarity over where responsibility lay between national and collective EU decisions could make a real difference. This would also help national governments to wean themselves off their pernicious habit of blaming Brussels.

  • Institutional capacity-building: the EU should do more to help poorer countries and regions to build the necessary capacity to implement decisions, as they had done successfully for pre-accession countries. A post-accession version of the Copenhagen criteria and conditionalities for EU funding was worth considering.

  • Integration of immigrants: if there was room for argument about the economic and financial impact of migration and the right levels for numbers of migrants, there was an unanswerable case for decent levels of public spending on those who reached Europe to stay, to ensure they had not only basic living standards but also proper access to the worlds of education and work.

  • Addressing tax avoidance and tax havens at EU level: this should be part of a concerted effort to make sure that the EU was seen as acting in areas close to the economic and social concerns of ordinary Europeans.

  • Stop self-flagellation: Europeans were very good at talking themselves into gloom and paralysis. Changing the psychology was essential.

Structural reforms

Beyond these steps, we did not look in detail at the kind of structural reforms which could make a difference. There was plenty of emphasis on the need for labour market reform in some countries, and a view that reform of other areas could be just as important, for example fixing education systems to produce more of the modern skills now in short supply in some areas. We noted that there was plenty of loose talk about structural reform. But did we know what really worked? Where was the evidence? Was there clarity about what should be attempted only in good economic times, and what accompanying adjustment measures should be if painful changes were tried at difficult moments? The Irish example in the middle of the financial crisis was seen as instructive in many ways. There had been a lot of agreement about what needed to be done, and an obvious compulsion, internal and external, to do it. The results had been notably successful. But it was also worth noting that once the external pressure had come off, with the exit from the formal European programme, the pace of reform had slowed significantly.

It was argued that we did in fact have a lot of evidence of what worked and in what circumstances, for example inside the major international economic organisations. The IMF had produced several good studies in this area, and the OECD also had its Quantitative Study of Structural Reforms (QASAR). It was clear that there had to be a coherent programme, with help for the inevitable losers, and good communication about the goals and the methods, not just austerity apparently imposed from the outside. Nor should we always assume that the US approach was what was needed in Europe. For example the Nordic labour market model had achieved great things.
 
The future of Europe

Our main focus was clearly on the economics and on how to create growth and jobs but, as this report shows, it was hard to separate this from broader considerations about where the EU and Eurozone should be heading. There were some further political ideas, realistic and not so realistic, which were given an airing and deserve to be mentioned in this record:

  • Putting the EU budget on a different footing, eg allocating 2% of VAT receipts to the EU on an explicit basis. Without increasing the size of the budget, this could improve transparency and acceptability of European spending since it would not seem to come from national governments or taxpayers, as it did now.

  • Moving to a more explicit form of variable geometry, either with three circles (Eurozone, some form of wider security/foreign policy union, and an outer circle built around the single market), or a much more flexible system than that would imply.

  • Action to improve the legitimacy of the European Parliament, ranging from replacing it by something akin to the old system of a body made up of national parliament contingents, to changing electoral methods.

  • Action on defence to ensure that money being spent currently at national levels to little overall effect provided some real security.

  • A quantum leap to a more nation-like/federal structure.

  • More action to promote a European identity/’demos’.

  • The creation of Special Economic Zones, along Chinese lines, with enhanced international mobility of capital and labour within them.

As almost always when discussing Europe these days, there was a divergence between those arguing that the solution to current problems was ‘more Europe’, and those suggesting that this approach was precisely the problem leading to current public disenchantment, and that less/better Europe might be a more useful basis on which to proceed. Even the magic of Ditchley was not going to bridge this gap, but it was interesting that there did seem to be agreement round the table that 75% of the actions necessary to improve Europe’s growth and jobs prospects had to be taken at national level.

Conclusions

If a lot of the discussion seemed relatively gloomy, we did not believe that Europe was condemned to grow more slowly than other regions. However, one fundamental point which recurred throughout our conversations was the idea of a crisis of legitimacy for European institutions. While there was a lack of trust in governments and institutions throughout the world, including the US, as we could see from the Presidential election campaign there, there seemed to be something more fragile in Europe. When things went wrong in the US, all kinds of ideas could be put forward, and all kinds of actions could result, including for example states going bankrupt, without the underlying unity or structure of the US being questioned. The opposite was the case in Europe. This might be simply a function of time, and the newness and boldness of what had been put together in Europe. The birth of the US itself had been painful and difficult over a couple of centuries. But we worried that, in current febrile times, Europe might not get the chance to consolidate itself before it was torn apart by centrifugal forces. To that extent, the British referendum campaign might point the way to the future, one way or another.


This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions of the conference. No participant is in any way committed to its content or expression.

PARTICIPANTS

CHAIR: The Rt Hon. the Lord Willetts 
Executive Chair, Resolution Foundation (2015-); Visiting Professor, King's College London (2015-); Chair, Advisory Board, Times Higher Education (2014-); Chair, British Science Association (2015-). Author, 'The Pinch – How the baby boomers took their children's future and why they should give it back'. Formerly: Member of Parliament (Conservative) for Havant (1992-2015); Minister for Universities and Science, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (2010-14).

CANADA

Mr Dan Ciuriak

Director and Principal, Ciuriak Consulting Inc., Ottawa; Fellow in Residence, C.D. Howe Institute, Toronto; Associate, BKP Development Research & Consulting GmbH, Munich. Formerly: Deputy Chief Economist, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada (DFAIT); Deputy Chair, APEC Economic Committee, DFAIT; Finance Counsellor, Embassy of Canada to Germany; Chief, Financial Institutions Section, and Project Director, Financial Institutions Reform Project, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance (1983-1990).

Dr André Downs 
Chief Economist, Global Affairs Canada. Formerly: Director General, Economic Research and Analysis, Policy Research Initiative; Deputy Commissioner, Competition Bureau; manager, economist and
analyst, Privy Council Office and Department of Finance.

Mr Logan Graham 
Rhodes Scholar, PhD Candidate in Engineering Science, University of Oxford; Researcher, Oxford Martin School Future of Technology and Employment programme; World Economic Forum Global Shaper; Policy Researcher, OxPolicy Artificial Intelligence Initiative. Formerly: Researcher, Vancouver School of Economics; Founder, Awake Labs and Yunus&Youth; Data science & social enterprise consultant.

Professor Patrick Leblond 
Associate Director and Associate Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa (2008-); Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation (2015-); Visiting Professor, University of Barcelona (2009-). Formerly: Assistant Professor of International Business, HEC Montreal; Director, International Economics Network, Centre for International Studies, University of Montreal (CERIUM); corporate finance and strategy consulting, Arthur Andersen & Co. and SECOR Consulting.

DENMARK

Mr Jan Hendeliowitz 

Chairman, The Regional Economic and Employment Council of Copenhagen and Zeeland (2104-); Chief Policy Adviser, Danish Ministry of Employment, National Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment (2012-). Formerly: Chairman, Directing Committee, OECD LEED (Local Economic Employment Development) (2009-15); Regional Employment Director, Danish Ministry of Employment (2005-12).

EUROPEAN COMMISSION/SPAIN

Ms Eliana Garcés Tolon
 
Deputy Chief Economist, Directorate General of Industry and Enterprise, European Commission  (2013-). Formerly: Member of Cabinet of Commissioner for Competition, Vice-President Joaquin Almunia (2010-13); Member of Cabinet of European Commissioner for Consumer Policy (2007-10); Chief Economist Team – Competition Policy (2004-07).

EUROPEAN COMMISSION/AUSTRIA

Dr Karl Pichelmann 

Senior Adviser, Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs, European Commission, Brussels (1998-). Formerly: Associate Professor, Institut d'Etudes Européennes, Brussels (2000-14); Senior Economist, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna (1981-98); Consultant, OECD, Paris (1993).

FRANCE

Mr Pascal Boris CBE 

Honorary President, French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain; Co-Founder, 'Cercle d'outre-Manche'; Board Member, BNP Paribas (Suisse); Cards Prepaid Ltd (t/a Bankable); Independent Director, Grant Thornton International Ltd. Formerly: Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Bank Insinger de Beaufort N.V. (2010-15); Vice-Chairman, BNP Paribas Wealth Management (2010-14); CEO, BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA (2007-13); CEO, BNP Paribas UK (1999-2007).

Mr Nicolas Dufourcq 
Chief Executive Officer, Bpifrance, Paris. Formerly: Chief Financial Officer (2004-12) and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Capgemini; Head, Central and Southern Europe Region, Capgemini (2003-04); Chairman and CEO, Wanadoo (2000-03); Executive Director, France Telecom (1998-2003).

GERMANY

Dr Clemens Boersig 

Chairman, Deutsche Bank Foundation; Board Member, Emerson Electric Co.; Supervisory Board Member, Bayer AG, Daimler AG and Linde AG; Chairman of the Supervisory Board, European School of Management and Technology. Formerly: Chairman of the Supervisory Board (2006-12) and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial and Risk Officer (1999-2006), Deutsche Bank AG; Member, European Financial Services Roundtable; Trustee, IFRS Foundation (2009-14); a Governor and Member of the Council of Management and Business Committee of The Ditchley Foundation (2001-11).

Professor Dr Clemens Fuest 
President, Ifo Institute – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research, University of Munich; President, CESifo GmbH; Director, Center for Economic Studies (CES), University of Munich; Professor for Economics, Chair for Economics and Public Finance, Faculty of Economics, University of Munich (2016-); member, German Federal Government Commission on the Minimum Wage (2015-); member, High Level Group on Own Resources, European Commission (2014-; due to report in 2016); Academic Advisory Board member, German Federal Ministry of Finance (2003-).

Dr Martin Heipertz 
Head, European Policy Division, Federal Ministry of Finance, Berlin (2014-). Formerly: Adviser to European Peoples' Party lead candidate, Jean-Claude Juncker (2014); Private Secretary to State Secretary, Dr Thomas Steffen, Federal Ministry of Finance, Berlin (2012-14); Deputy Private Secretary to Federal Minister of Finance, Dr Wolfgang Schäuble, German Federal Ministry of Finance, Berlin (2010-11); Senior Officer, Board of Directors, European Investment Bank, Luxembourg (2009-10); Member of Policy Planning Staff, European Affairs Unit, Federal Ministry of Defence (2008-09); Deputy Head of Economic and Fiscal Affairs Division, International Civilian Office in Kosovo (2008); Economist, European Affairs and Fiscal Policy, European Central Bank, Frankfurt (2004-08).

Professor Michael Heise 
Chief Economist, Allianz SE (2003-); Advisory Board Member, DPE Deutsche Private Equity GmbH; Supervisory Board Member, Allianz Lebensversicherungs AG. Formerly: Secretary General, German Council of Economic Experts; Chief Economist, DG Bank; Chief Economist and Head of Research, DZ Bank; Chief Economist, Dresdner Bank.

Mr Martin G. Kaspar 
Fraenkische Group (2002-): Head of Business Development, Fraenkische-Industrial Pipes; PhD Candidate, Durham University (on FDI incentives). Formerly Wacker-Chemie, Munich; Deutsche Heraklith, Simbach.

Mr Hermann Lohbeck 
Group Executive Board Member, CLAAS Group; CEO, Business Unit Forage. Formerly: General Manager for Combine & Forager Business, CLAAS; Auditor, Deloitte Group (1989-99).

IMF/USA

Mr Kenneth Kang PhD
 
Assistant Director, European Department, International Monetary Fund. Formerly: IMF Resident Representative in Korea (2003-06).

INDIA

Mr Hemant Luthra
 
Chairman, Mahindra CIE Ltd; Independent Director and Member of Boards with interests in Alternative Energy and Asset Reconstruction; Senior Advisor, Mahindra & Mahindra; Corporate Advisor, Singapore Sovereign Wealth Fund, Temasek.

IRELAND

Mr Declan Hughes
 
Assistant Secretary General, Strategic Policy Division, Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation (2014-); member, National Competitiveness Council, Expert Group on Future Skills Needs and Manufacturing Development Forum. Formerly: Head of Division and Executive Committee member, Forfás – Government's enterprise, trade and science technology and innovation policy advisory Board, Dublin (2006-14).

Ms Orna NiChionna 
Chair of Client Service, Eden McCallum, London; Member, British Irish Business Dialogue; Senior Independent Director and Remco Chair, Royal Mail; Deputy Chair, National Trust; Non-Executive Director, Saga plc; Board member, Saïd Business School. Formerly: Co-Leader, European Retail practice, McKinsey & Co.

ITALY

Dr Riccardo Crescenzi 

Professor of Economic Geography, London School of Economics. Formerly: Visiting Scholar, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Taubman Centre, Harvard University and University of California Los Angeles; adviser: European Investment Bank, European Parliament, European Commission (DG Regional Policy), Inter-American Investment Bank and others.

OECD/CANADA

Mr Robert Ford
 
Deputy Director of Country Studies, Economics Department, OECD. Formerly: Assistant Director, European Department, IMF; Counsellor to the Chief Economist and Head of Fiscal Policy Division, Economics Department, OECD; Senior Economist, Research Department, IMF; Assistant Director, Research Department, Bank of Canada.

SPAIN

Mr Joaquín Almunia 

Formerly: European Commissioner for Competition (2010-14): European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs (2004-10); Leader of the Opposition, Parliament of Spain (1997-2000); Minister of Employment (1982-86).

SWEDEN

Professor Carola Lemne MD, PhD, FRSA 

Director General, Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, Stockholm; Chairman, Uppsala University (2013-); Associate Professor, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm; Fellow, The Royal Society of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce, London. Formerly: CEO and President, Praktikertjänst AB; CEO, Danderyd University Hospital; Vice President, Global Clinical Development and Regulatory Affairs Strategy, Pharmacia Corp; board member, Investor, Swedish Strategic Research Foundation.

UK

The Lord Aldington
 
Chairman, Intramuros Ltd; Chairman, 2019 Committee, New College, Oxford. Formerly: Chairman, Deutsche Bank London (2002-09); Vice President, National Churches Trust (2008-16); Trustee, Institute for Philanthropy (2008-14); Trustee, Royal Academy Trust (2003-13); Chairman, Stramongate Ltd (2007-11); Member, Council of the British-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (1995-2008). A Governor and Member of the Council of Management and Business Committee and Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee of The Ditchley Foundation.

Mr Steven Bainbridge 
Senior Analyst, European training policies, European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP), Thessaloniki (1996-). Formerly: Editor, European journal for vocational training (1996-2001); European vocational education and training policy, DG Education and Culture, European Commission (1994-96); Private Secretary to Minister for Employment, UK.

Ms Jenny Bates
Chief Analyst/Chief Economist, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (2015-); member, Government Economics Service Board; Chair, OECD Committee on Industry, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Formerly: Head of Secretariat, Smith Commission on devolution of further powers to Scotland; HM Treasury; Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Progressive Policy Institute, Washington DC; National Farmers Union, London.

Mr Edward Carr   
Deputy Editor, The Economist (2015-). Formerly: Foreign Editor (2009-15); Business Affairs Editor (2005-09); News Editor, The Financial Times (2000-05); Science Correspondent, The Economist.

Mr Reginald Dale 
Director, Transatlantic Media Network, and Senior Fellow, Europe Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC (2006-). Formerly: founding Editor-in-Chief, European Affairs quarterly policy journal, Washington, DC; syndicated columnist, International Herald Tribune (IHT) (1993-2002); international economics correspondent then Economics and Financial Editor, IHT, Paris (1987-93); senior editor, leader writer and foreign correspondent in Brussels and Washington, Financial Times; Visiting Fellow, Harvard University; Media Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Mr John Evans 
General Secretary, Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD, Paris; Chief Economist, International Trade Union Confederation. Formerly: Economist, Economic Department, Trades Union Congress; Secretary, International Federation of Commercial, Clerical and Technical Employees, Geneva and London; Research Officer, European Trade Union Institute, Brussels.

Ms Sarah O'Connor 
Employment Correspondent, The Financial Times.

Mr Owen Tudor 
Trades Union Congress (1984-): Head, European Union and International Relations Department  (2003-); member, Wilton Park Advisory Council. Formerly: a member: Health and Safety Commission, Civil Justice Council, Social Security Advisory Committee, Industrial Injuries Advisory Council.

Mrs Paula Whitehouse 
Director, Aston Centre for Growth, Aston Business School; Alumni Director, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme; Head of Enterprise, Aston University; Member, Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Growth Hub Management Board; Founder Member and Pitchfest Lead, Venturefest West Midlands. Formerly: Consultant, Arts Council England (1999-2010).

USA

Mr Ridwan Hassen
 
Master of Public Policy Candidate, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.

Dr Bart van Ark 
Executive Vice President, Chief Economist (2008-) and Chief Strategy Officer, The Conference Board, New York; Professor in Economic Development, Technological Change and Growth, University of Groningen; Research Professor, German Institute for Economic Research, Berlin. Formerly: Director (current  member), Groningen Growth and Development Centre; Associate Dean International Affairs, Faculty of Economics and Faculty of Management and Organisation, Groningen University; Coordinator, European consortium of research institutes on 'Productivity in the European Union: A Comparative Industry Approach' (2004-08); Research Associate, National Institute of Economic and Social Research (UK) (1988-90).



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