On December 16, World Bank President Robert Zoellick joined Atlantic Council President and CEO Fred Kempe at the Four Seasons Hotel In Washington for a dialogue on the many forces shaping the global economy today.

Zoellick was insistent that policymakers in Europe need to tackle this major challenge on their own during this “hinge point in history.” The best thing for the US and the emerging economies to do to support the European recovery process is to set good examples: “Europe has to rescue Europe,” he said. “The most important thing the United States can do at this point is get its own economic house in order, as its reach around the world depends on this.”

Other key points from the discussion included comments on:

  • China: Zoellick said China was “overheating” recently, and its economic slowdown is understandable and appropriate as its economy rebalances. He hopes China will serve as a source of confidence to markets and help European recovery via multilateral institutions.
  • The United States: Facing an election year, Zoellick stressed the need for executive leadership to work through Congressional gridlock. He maintained, however, that “my concerns about the United States are serious, but not as time sensitive” as European issues.
  • The Arab Spring: Zoellick took an optimistic long-term view on the events of the Arab Spring, saying there is enormous potential for both successful democratic transitions and economic growth.
  • Afghanistan: This month’s Bonn Conference on Afghanistan left Zoellick hopeful that an integrated security, economic, and political agenda can be achieved through international partnerships, but ultimately Afghanistan must be willing to commit to its own reconstruction and development.


A discussion with

Robert Zoellick
World Bank Group

Welcome and introductions

Frank Kelly
Managing Director and Head, Public Affairs and Communications – Americas
Deutsche Bank

Moderated by

Fred Kempe
President and CEO
Atlantic Council


The discussion is part of the “Mapping the Economic and Financial Future Series,” an Atlantic Council series co-hosted with Deutsche Bank that features high-level business leaders and economic policymakers from the US and Europe. The series is a central component of the Council’s Global Business and Economics Program.