The opening ceremony for the GSE’s 2009-10 academic year took place on December 4, 2009 at the Pedrera, a Barcelona landmark designed by Antoni Gaudí, owned by Caixa Catalunya, one of the Barcelona GSE Board members.
The event was chaired by the Catalan Minister of Economy and Finance, Prof. Antoni Castells; the President of Caixa Catalunya, Dr. Narcís Serra; the Chairman of the Barcelona GSE, Prof. Andreu Mas-Colell; and the representatives of the UPF and the UAB, Prof. María Morrás and Prof. Isabel Pont. Students, faculty, researchers, and members of many private and public supporting institutions of the GSE, including representatives of the Government and of the Congress, attended the opening ceremony.
Barcelona GSE master students at the Pedrera for the 2009-10 opening ceremony.
“Economic Governance in Europe: First Lessons from the Crisis”
The inaugural lecture for the 2009-10 academic year was delivered by Prof. André Sapir (ECARES-ULB), Economic Adviser to the European Commission President and Chairman of the High-Level Study Group that produced the report “An Agenda for a Growing Europe,” also known as the “Sapir Report” (Oxford University Press, 2004).
Prof. Sapir presented his lecture, “Economic Governance in Europe: First Lessons from the Crisis,” in which he analyzed both macroeconomic and microeconomic policy assignment at the union and national level, as well as the effects of this policy matrix on Europe’s responses to the economic crisis.
“The instruments of coordination we had before the crisis have been somewhat helpful, but they have not delivered as much as one had hoped,” Prof. Sapir said.
According to Prof. Sapir, despite the existence of crisis prevention mechanisms such as the Lisbon Agenda (now called Europe 2020), once the crisis hit there was no mechanism for coordinating crisis management. He went on to examine Europe’s performance in responding to the crisis based on the policy tools at its disposal.
He concluded by drawing a few lessons from the crisis. He suggested that a reassignment of economic policy supervision may be necessary, depending on whether or not Europe intends to preserve a single market. He also stated that Europe needs better crisis prevention capabilities, possibly including a coordinating EU/eurozone authority. In addition, he called for the preparation of proper crisis management strategies and the development of better external representation in international fora such as the G20 and International Monetary Fund.
Prof. André Sapir (ECARES-ULB) delivers his lecture, "Economic Governance in Europe: First Lessons from the Crisis" at the Pedrera.
Now more than ever, a need for new economics professionals
Catalan Minister of Economy and Finance Prof. Antoni Castells followed up on Prof. Sapir’s lecture by reinforcing the need to consolidate crisis recovery not just in Europe, but around the world, through a joint committment of governments and the private sector. He emphasized the need for talented economics professionals in this process.
“Now it’s time to learn from past experience,” Prof. Castells said. “Learning from mistakes is a precondition for progress. Now we have the big challenge of designing a new balance between government and markets in the era of the global economy. Economists are going to play a key role in defining the new economic framework, and the Barcelona GSE is playing an outstanding role in developing such talent. It is an honor for Catalonia to host the distinguished scholars that make up its faculty and of course the brilliant and promising students that are making it a success with their committment and hard work,” he said.
From left: UAB Secretary General Dr. Isabel Pont, GSE Chairman Prof. Andreu Mas-Colell, Catalan Minister of Economy and Finance Prof. Antoni Castells, President of Caixa Catalunya Dr. Narcis Serra, and UPF Vicerector of International Relations Dr. María Morrás.
Students, faculty, researchers, and public and private supporters of the GSE listen to the lecture.
After the ceremony, students, faculty, and guests enjoyed refreshments and toasted the new academic year.