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Rewatch the launch event

Event recap

New Atlanticist

Dec 1, 2020

ECB President outlines her plans for overcoming the second wave of economic damage from COVID

By David A. Wemer

Although lockdowns are beginning to ease across Europe after a brutal second wave of coronavirus infections in October and November, governments need to prepare for a second economic hit, Christine Lagarde said on December 1.

Coronavirus Digital Policy

Today marked the launch of the new GeoEconomics Center at the Atlantic Council. We were joined by Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, and Fredrick Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council. As keynote speaker, Lagarde spoke about the various crises she has come across and how she tackled them in her years of leadership. The conversation featured opening remarks by John F.W. Rogers, Chairman of the Atlantic Council Board of Directors and Gina Wood, Vice President of the Atlantic Council.

Lagarde opened by congratulating the GeoEconomics Center on the launch and noted the timeliness of the launch, stressing that the challenges facing the world today have to be dealt with globally. She particularly stressed the importance of the “revival of the ‘Atlantic spirit’” this crucial time. Through her years of experience in navigating economic crises, Lagarde has learned that it is crucial to act quickly and boldly while maintaining good communication. To stabilize the European economy, the ECB has emphasized constant response coordination between the major central banks among its many emergency response programs during the COVID-19 crisis. 

In regards to the future of digital currencies, Lagarde stated that the central banks should not act too fast simply to be the first. While the ECB values rapid action, it also values caution to avoid hasty actions. 

On climate change, Lagarde highlighted the responsibility the ECB has taken on to supervise banks to ensure any externalities of this threat are accounted for. This “existential threat” must be tackled head-on from a variety of angles.

Lagarde spoke on women in leadership as well. She pointed out that women in leadership braved the pandemic in an “authentic, rational, honest way” even though they were the ones who were hardest hit. This continues to be “one of the greatest paradoxes of the moment.”

Lagarde noted ingenuity during times of a crisis, be it in the leadership or in its management. The GeoEconomics Center is grateful to President Lagarde for her participation in our event and the valuable insights she shared with us today.

Event description

Please join the Atlantic Council on Tuesday, December 1, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST for a conversation with Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, to mark the launch the new GeoEconomics Center.

President Lagarde will offer her insights on leadership through crisis, the path to recovery for both the US and Europe, and how transatlantic cooperation will be key to revitalizing the global economy.

The conversation will be moderated by Fredrick Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council and feature opening remarks by John F.W. Rogers, Chairman of the Board of the Atlantic Council Board of Directors, and Gina Wood, Vice President, Foundational and Institutional Giving, Atlantic Council.

The new GeoEconomics Center will be a crucial part of the Atlantic Council’s ability to tackle global challenges. Through its work, the new Center aims to bridge the divide between finance, foreign policy, and economics, with the goal of helping shape a better global economic future. The Center is organized around three pillars: The Future of Capitalism; The Future of Money; and The Economic Statecraft Initiative.

Opening remarks by

Keynote speaker

Christine Lagarde

European Central Bank

Moderated by

Closing remarks by

This ambitious work and the important mission of the GeoEconomics Center are of historic significance. As we navigate one of the worst pandemics in a century and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the United States must lead and collaborate with friends and allies to shape the future—or instead risk becoming a bystander in a fragmenting global economy with growing dangers to democratic capitalism.

Highlighted Content

With its in-depth analysis, research, and dynamic data visualization tools, this new Atlantic Council venture will address the fundamental fractures in our global economy—including international skepticism about free and open markets, the rise of digital currencies, and the role of economic diplomacy in foreign policy—and help us map a way forward.

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At the intersection of economics, finance, and foreign policy, the GeoEconomics Center is a translation hub with the goal of helping shape a better global economic future.