Past Event

Spitzenkandidaten series: Luis Garicano

The third event in the The Road to Europe - Brussels Briefing Live: Spitzenkandidaten series. The series features the lead candidates for the European Elections of six parties and is jointly organised by Bruegel and the Financial Times in March and April 2019.

Date: April 3, 2019, 12:30 pm Topic: Macroeconomic policy

video & audio recordings


In the third event of the Spitzenkandidaten series co-hosted by Bruegel and the Financial Times, Luis Garicano discussed his platform as the ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) candidate for the European Commission President. The interviewers for the event were Bruegel Director, Guntram Wolff and Financial Times Brussels Correspondent, Mehreen Khan.

Garicano began by discussing his general vision for the European economy that he would like to promote as the president of the commission. He explained that the current liberal system based on open markets and free trade is currently under attack from foreign powers and from domestic populists. His goal is to promote the liberal system and to qualm the anxieties and fears that lead to populism by working to create an economy that works for all Europeans, even those who are typically “left behind”in the labor market. He also expressed the importance of European growth in the digital sector and helping European workers develop skills in these areas.

Next, the discussion turned to trade policy. As the commission president, Garicano explained that he would be an adamant supporter of the rules-based multilateral trading system. However, he also expressed a bit of concern about China. He explained that the West made a “Fukuyama Fault” by making the assumption that China would eventually liberalize politically when they were accepted into the GATT and WTO after liberalizing economically. He believes that China’s failure to protect human rights, workers rights, and intellectual property rights should not be permitted. Yet, he does not agree with the US approach to dealing with these issues through the application of bilateral tariffs. Rather, he is of the opinion that Chinese violations of WTO standards should be addressed legally through a rules-based multilateral system. He explained that even though the EU may be gaining benefits through Chinese trade at the moment, it is important to take a long-term view, stating “if we continue to ride the Chinese tiger, we will eventually be eaten.”

On the topic of eurozone reform, Garicano was not afraid to voice criticisms of the current EU policies toward economic convergence and fiscal harmonization. He is of the opinion that the inequalities between regions in the EU is not acceptable and serves to feed the fire of populism. He emphasized that the EU needs to focus more on creating strong institutions in struggling regions because this will lead to the innovation and investment needed for better economic growth rates. He also advocated for the EU to eventually adopt a eurobond in order to increase the power and safety of the euro for investors. To conclude this section of the debate, he criticized the current stability and growth pact mechanism for fiscal harmonization. He explained that, under the current system, there is a failure of communication with member states that serves to breed populism. When Italy is told that they cannot raise pensions because “Moscovici said so,” a lack of trust develops between the EU and the states susceptible to populism. He thinks the EU needs to create a more democratic system for fiscal harmonization while maintaining the technocratic aspects of the current system.

Lastly, Garicano discussed industrial and competition policy. He stated that the biggest success of the EU is its competition policy because it allows for equity and a healthy relationship between government and business. He explained that even in the face of enhanced competition in digital platforms from China and the US, the EU should not try to create “champions” but should rather focus on maintaining a strict competition policy and regulating digital superpowers in such a manner that data is shared and the “winner take all” tendency in digital business in mitigated. Additionally, he advocated for increased research and development funding and the maintenance of ethical standards in AI production.

Overall, Garicano’s platform was quite interesting and offers an interesting perspective on how to qualm the tide of populism that he fears will continue to rise in Europe if not addressed soon.

Notes by Davis Cousar

This event is a part of a series of talks and debates with Europe’s Spitzenkandidaten and political leaders. Journalists from the FT, along with a Bruegel Director or a senior scholar, will explore and challenge the main political parties’ policies for the future of the continent in front of an invited audience. The events will be livestreamed on the Bruegel website. For more events, see here.


Apr 3, 2019


Check-in and lunch



Luis Garicano, Vice-President of the Renew Europe

Mehreen Khan, EU correspondent, Financial Times

Guntram B. Wolff, Director






Luis Garicano

Vice-President of the Renew Europe

Mehreen Khan

EU correspondent, Financial Times

Guntram B. Wolff


Location & Contact

Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels

Matilda Sevon

[email protected]

Read article

Blog Post

European governance

Germany’s post-pandemic current account surplus

The pandemic has increased the net lending position of the German corporate sector. By incentivising private investment, policymakers could trigger a virtuous cycle of increasing wages, decreasing corporate net lending, which would eventually lead to a reduction of the economy-wide current account surplus.

By: Lionel Guetta-Jeanrenaud and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European governance, Macroeconomic policy Date: October 21, 2021
Read about event

Past Event

Past Event

Monetary policy in the time of climate change

How does climate change influence monetary policy in the eurozone? What potential monetary policy measures should be taken up to address climate risks?

Speakers: Cornelia Holthausen, Jean Pisani-Ferry and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Green economy, Macroeconomic policy Date: October 20, 2021
Read about event

Past Event

Past Event

A hybrid future of work

Addressing employers’ and employees’ challenges.

Speakers: Julie Brophy, Joost Korte, Laura Nurski, Renske Paans and Alex A. Saliba Topic: Digital economy and innovation, Inclusive growth Date: October 19, 2021
Read about event

Upcoming Event


Microchips and Europe's strategic autonomy

Per microchips ad strategic autonomy.

Speakers: Piotr Arak, Alicia García-Herrero, Jay Lewis and Niclas Poitiers Topic: Digital economy and innovation, European governance
Read about event More on this topic

Upcoming Event


European monetary policy: lessons from the past two decades

This event will feature the presentation of “Monetary Policy in Times of Crisis – A Tale of Two Decades of the European Central Bank."

Speakers: Grégory Claeys and Wolfgang Lemke Topic: Macroeconomic policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read article

External Publication

European Parliament

Tailoring prudential policy to bank size: the application of proportionality in the US and euro area

In-depth analysis prepared for the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON).

By: Alexander Lehmann and Nicolas Véron Topic: Banking and capital markets, European Parliament, Macroeconomic policy Date: October 14, 2021
Read article More by this author

External Publication

Global Economic Resilience: Building Forward Better

A roadmap for systemic economic reform calling for step-change in global economic governance to increase resilience and build forward better from economic shocks, prepared for the G7 Advisory Panel on Economic Resilience.

By: Thomas Wieser Topic: Global economy and trade, Macroeconomic policy Date: October 14, 2021
Read article More by this author

Blog Post

Inclusive growth

Making antitrust work for, not against, gig workers and the self-employed

Policymakers should act to deal with labour-market concentration trends that potentially harm workers, especially gig workers and the self-employed.

By: Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Digital economy and innovation, Inclusive growth Date: October 11, 2021
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

What is the link between biodiversity loss and financial instability?

Biodiversity loss impacts financial stability. How big is the risk of biodiversity loss for financial institutions?

Speakers: Sylvie Goulard, Romain Svartzman, Guntram B. Wolff and Michael Wilkins Topic: Banking and capital markets Date: October 5, 2021
Read article More on this topic More by this author


The geopolitical conquest of economics

Although economics and geopolitics have never been completely separate domains, international economic relations were shaped for 70 years by their own rules. But the rise of China and its growing rivalry with the United States have brought this era to an end.

By: Jean Pisani-Ferry Topic: Global economy and trade Date: October 4, 2021
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

How to strike the right balance between the three pillars of the pension system?

In this event panelists will discuss the future of European pension schemes.

Speakers: Elsa Fornero, Svend E. Hougaard Jensen and Suvi-Anne Siimes Topic: Macroeconomic policy Date: September 23, 2021
Read article More on this topic More by this author



Unboxing the State of the Union 2021

In this Sound of Economics Live episode, Bruegel experts look at the State of the Union address delivered by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Macroeconomic policy Date: September 15, 2021
Load more posts