The second of the three conferences under the CEI post-Covid Economic Recovery Dialogue Forum was successfully held on 29 April. The event was organised by the CEI-Executive Secretariat in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).  The event was complemented by presentations from Brügel and the Italian Banking Association.

CEI Secretary General Roberto Antonione opened the discussion by stressing that exchanging knowledge and experiences on the economic challenges was particularly important nowadays and needed strong international engagement and mobilisation on the topic. “Notably, we cannot look at the COVID-19 pandemic as something that will pass over quickly. From where we stand now, we need to plan and prepare for short, medium and long term”, he then said.

In his introductory speech, OECD Deputy Secretary-General, Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen emphasised that the event came at a time when our economies had  slowly started recovering. He stressed that the economic impact in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and South East Europe (SEE) signaled a severe outlook, with an estimated 3.5% fall out, and that all countries had gone into recession, while also a number of longstanding weaknesses should not be neglected. He pointed out that, in order to avoid uneven COVID-led impacts across the globe there was a need to actively make use of policy instruments

The panel discussion on banking and insurance was moderated by Alternate Secretary General, Antal Nikoletti and witnessed the participation of top managers of large banks active in CEE/SEE region, including Erste Bank, Generali, OTP Bank and Unicredit. The international expert of Italian Banking, Insurance and Finance Federation participated in the discussion.

“While there is a lot of discussion around many sectors of economy affected by the pandemic, such as hotels, catering, etc., relatively little attention is paid to the banking and insurance sector. the former being fundamental partners of all participants of the economic system”, said Nikoletti. 

The discussions focused on the challenges faced this past COVID-19 year, the post-covid economic structures, and on how CEI member countries and EU policy makers could help to create a more competitive business environment in the CEE/SEE region.

The third and final conference is planned to take place in early October 2021 and envisages the participation of the Ministers of the Economy and/or Finance.

For more info: nikoletti@cei.int