Matolcsy hails China’s “one belt, one growth” strategy as the “key to rebuilding Europe”

January 24, 2017

 The following comments were delivered in English by central bank governor György Matolcsy at yesterday’s Lamfalussy Lectures conference in Budapest:

This is the fourth Lamfalussy Lectures conference and we would like to send out a crystal-clear and straightforward message to the business community of the European nations and also globally.  The message is a simple one.  We need in Europe, especially within the European Union, to build up bridges, I mean political, intellectual, financial, economic and human bridges between Europe and Asia and between the European Union and China.  We managed to build up a unique European success story in the last five hundred years.  However, in the first half of the last century, we destroyed Europe.  Europe destroyed Europe.  In the course of this long British and German world war, Europe destroyed Europe.  However, in the second half of the last century, (we) managed to rebuild Europe and also we managed to build a very strong cooperation within the European Union.  However, in a shorter period of time we had also a great success.  It was a promising success.  It was the Euro. From 1999 until the outbreak of the global financial crisis, the Euro proved to be a promising new endeavor.  It proved to be one of the global currencies.  However, again, after 2008 we lost (our) way.  We made huge mistakes in the European Union and also in the Eurozone. We didn’t destroy Europe but we destroyed the original European vision.  We destroyed hope.  We destroyed a tremendous (number) of jobs and also the future of GDP growth. Our great friend, Alexander de Lamfalussy (Lamfalussy Sándor), emphasized several times the importance of financial stability.  However, when it comes to the Euro, our promising European currency went on a bumpy road, taking half measures.  And all these half measures resulted in a somewhat weakened position of our currency.

What are the reasons?  There are many reasons for that.  But may I just sort out only one of them, which is the failed economic policies of the European Union.  We call it austerity, austerity programs, austerity measures, because by definition the measures result in the loss of jobs, the loss of GDP growth, the loss of trust. And these result in an unsustainable macro-economic balance.

Professor Lamfalussy was right, of course. In order to rebuild Europe, in order to have a successful Euro (unintelligible) project, we need financial stability, and with the help of financial stability, not via austerity measures, we can again build up growth, vision, jobs and a future for Europe.  The clear message, again, would mean we propose to build up strong bridges between the European Union and Asia, especially at the very heart of that endeavor, China.

The European Union, also the central-eastern European countries, especially Hungary, form the new “one belt, one growth” concept of China. We would like to build up the new silk road.  We are one of the sixty-four countries of this new project.  And I very much hope that this conference will very much contribute to the success of this new endeavor, and also that our new approach, our new vision can rebuild Europe, the European Union and the Eurozone.