The Annual Meetings is Bruegel's flagship event, where we host high-level speakers to discuss the most pressing economic issues of our time. The Annual Meetings is one of the first big policy events in Brussels after the summer break and helps shape the conversation in the coming months.
Europe has come through 2022 better than most of us had feared. The human and economic toll of Russia’s war on Ukraine has been immense, but Russia was beaten back. Energy prices surged to previously unimaginable highs, but markets remained functional. Inflation reached its highest level since the creation of the euro, but has since started to drop. A much-predicted recession has not materialised. Old divisions between EU members re-emerged, but ultimately did not prevent a common response. In a structural sense, however, Europe’s challenges remain more daunting than they have been in many decades. Some progress has been made, yet nothing has been solved. The war goes on, the energy situation remains fragile, protectionism is on the rise, competitiveness is eroding, EU governance problems remain unresolved, geopolitical tensions are worsening, and the world may be losing the race against climate change.
2023-2024 is the year where we shift back the conversation from how to survive the next few months to how to work forward the next decade. We should be talking not only about the themes that are defining the end of this European electoral cycle, but also about the coming one. This was the conversation we had at this year’s Bruegel Annual Meetings.