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Monday, March 18, 2013
18/03/2013 The conference and debate "Europe in 2020" was organized by Zurich Insurance in Madrid, and involved several outstanding speakers. They all gave their views on the future of the continent, both from an economic perspective, as social and political. In addition, everyone was absolutely convinced of the ability of European countries to increase their competitiveness, as key growth factor. The event, chaired by the Chief Executive Officer of Zurich in Spain, Julián López Zaballos, and Risk Director and Regional Chairman Zurich European Group, Axel P. Lehmann, featured as a keynote speaker with Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, a former member of the Governing Council of the ECB. Subsequently, there was a debate involving Wolfgang Clement, former Federal Minister of Economics of Germany, Aleksander Kwasniewski, former President of Poland, Jose Oliu, chairman of Banco Sabadell, and Javier Solana, former Secretary General of NATO and Chairman of Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics of ESADE. Lorenzo Bini explained to the audience that "competitiveness is the driving factor of growth in Europe, and that the relationship between competitiveness and growth should be the main goal of the structural reforms in all European countries, especially the South, should be conducted. " And is that Bini repeatedly emphasized the need for strong political will, despite the high cost of insurance would. In addition, former ECB member also believed needed the patience of the markets and citizens, as governments need time to undertake these reforms. Bini was optimistic about the future of Europe, but more long term than short term.Javier Solana, who addressed the public after completion of the initial conference, added some aspects, such as the need for the European Union to continue its integration process, and spoke of sectors, such as energy, that marked political and economic agenda of the coming years. Solana also showed his optimism and that reforms and austerity policies must continue. Meanwhile, José Oliu impacted on the need for structural reforms, especially in Spain, but raised other country's structural problems, such as high investment during recent years in infrastructure over the technology or innovation. Oliu also addressed areas such as Public Administration in Spain, which he described as "inefficient because of its size and complexity." Finally, Wolfgang Clement and Aleksander Kwasniewski, who closed the debate, highlighted the demographic and socio-cultural issues as some of the challenges important for Europe. Clement stated that Germany was an aging population and had to bet on education as the key to that future generations could secure a job, and so the talent will be retained in Europe. Kwasniewski, meanwhile, noted that "Europe has significant challenges, and that if we become stronger, we will conduct a deeper integration, including the countries of Eastern Europe." Ultimately, all Speakers optimistic and competitiveness saw the key factor was to make European growth as it is interrelated with efficiency and innovation. Vision coinciding with Julian Lopez Zaballos, CEO of Zurich in Spain, who said "we have a hard road ahead, especially in southern Europe, but certainly we'll get stronger and with a high level of competitiveness in the global market" .