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Ομιλίες

Εισαγωγικές παρατηρήσεις του Διοικητή της Τράπεζας της Ελλάδος κ. Νικολάου Χ. Γκαργκάνα στο πλαίσιο της τέταρτης εκδήλωσης μνήμης και τιμής του καθηγητή Ξενοφώντα Ζολώτα

29/09/2006 - Ομιλίες

Κύριε Υπουργέ,

Κύριε Πρόεδρε,

Κυρία Ζολώτα,

Κυρίες και Κύριοι,

Με πολλή χαρά σας υποδέχομαι στην Τράπεζα της Ελλάδος για να παρακολουθήσουμε μαζί τη σημερινή διάλεξη του κ. Alexandre Lamfalussy. Πρόκειται για την τέταρτη διάλεξη στο πλαίσιο της σειράς διαλέξεων που καθιέρωσε η Τράπεζα για να τιμήσει τον πρώην Διοικητή της, τον αείμνηστο Ξενοφώντα Ζολώτα.

Τώρα θα μου επιτρέψετε να μιλήσω στα αγγλικά.

I would like to give Alexandre Lamfalussy a very warm welcome to the Bank of Greece. It was with great pleasure that I learnt that he had accepted my invitation to deliver this year's Zolotas Lecture. I have to say that, as a man who has devoted a significant proportion of his working life to public service, he is ideally suited to carry on the tradition of this lecture series.

After all, this series is named in honour of an individual who was unique and multifaceted, one who moved effortlessly between the world of academia and the arena of public policy. Professor Zolotas's teaching career at the Universities of Thessaloniki and Athens spanned more that forty years. A prolific writer, he produced many books and articles, mainly on international monetary and developmental issues. He cherished his academic life, a fact reflected in his revealed preference to be addressed as Professor rather than Governor. He was Governor of the Bank of Greece for 20 years. In periods when this country was confronted with serious problems, Professor Zolotas was called upon to contribute to solutions, both as Minister of National Economy and as Prime Minister. In his capacities as Governor of this Bank, Minister of National Economy, and Prime Minister, Professor Zolotas made many and significant contributions to economic thought and to the development of this institution and our country. Moreover, he had a vision of a unified and integrated Europe. His membership in the famous Group of Four, in 1960, for remodeling the OECD, and the Committee for the Monetary Union in Europe in 1986, under the Co-Presidency of Mssrs Giscard D ' Estaing and Helmut Schmidt, gave him opportunities to advance these views in policy circles.

As befits a lecture series named in honour of one who made important contributions to public policy, an objective of these lecture is to provide a forum for enhancing our understanding of important policy issues. The previous speakers have been the then-President of the Bundesbank, Hans Tietmeyer, the late Wim Duisenberg, former President of the European Central Bank, and Jean-Claude Trichet, the present President of the ECB. This year ' s speaker, therefore, carries on a tradition of distinguished speakers.

Alexandre Lamfalussy has had such a prominent and rich career that it is not possible to give all the particulars. Let me, therefore, mention only some highlights. In 1976 he took a step that was to prove decisive in shaping his career. He joined the Bank for International Settlements and in 1985 became its General Manager. During this time, he was a key figure on the Delors Committee, which, as you all know, paved the way for the economic and monetary union that we have in Europe today. Indeed, I think it is fair to say that Alexandre Lamfalussy is widely and justly considered to be a founding father of European Monetary Union.

But if the vision of EMU was put into sharper focus as a result of the Delors Committee ' s contributions, it nevertheless required individuals to put the Committee ' s blueprint into practice. Alexandre Lamfalussy was one of those individuals, rising to the challenge in a big way. In 1994, he took over the post of President of the newly-created European Monetary Institute, the predecessor institution of the European Central Bank. The challenge of setting up the institutional structure of the European Central Bank and designing the operational framework for the single monetary policy to encompass potentially all European Union countries was a monumental one. After all, history provides very few examples of countries with separate political systems that had voluntarily agreed to form a complete monetary union. Not only were there the practical issues of the harmonization of numerous existing operational frameworks, but there was often a need for pungent diplomatic skills in order to broker agreements. After four-and-a-half years of painstaking work, he handed over the reins of a highly efficient institution that was ready to become the European Central Bank.

Following his role in helping to shape the Delors Report and his helmsmanship of the European Monetary Institute, in 2000 he took on the task of Chairing the Committee of Wise Men on the Regulation of the European Securities Markets. The recommendations that were presented by the committee now form the core of European policy in the area of financial integration. Not only are the specific recommendations of the committee with respect to securities markets being implemented through EU Directives, but the approach suggested for regulation of securities markets, namely the appropriateness of regulation at various levels, has provided us with a model for the entire financial services industry.

Now an Emeritus Professor at the Catholic University of Louvain, in the past 6 years he has published two books on fragility in the international financial system. This is effectively the topic of his lecture today. Its title is:

Monetary Policy and Systemic Risk Prevention -

Challenges ahead for central banks

I look forward to hearing what light Professor Lamfalussy can shed on this topic after such a remarkable career at the forefront of the international financial arena.

Professor Lamfalussy, the floor is now yours.

 

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