On May 23, 2012, Peace Islands Institute held its 3rd Ambassador’s Luncheon Series hosting Honorable
Natalia Quintavalle, the Consul General of Italy in New York. Mr. Abdullah Karatash, head of US Fixed
Income Credit Trading for Natixis moderated the Ambassador’s Series titled: “How will the European
Economic Crisis change the Future of Italy and the EU? Consul General Quintavalle stated that Europe
has faced two major crises since 2008: the banking crisis at the end of 2008 and the sovereign debt
crisis. HE Mrs. Quintavalle said the two crises, which could have had incredibly disruptive effects, were
contained because public authorities stepped in and are still stepping in to provide economic stability by
providing financing to the banking system.
HE Mrs. Quintavalle noted that the recession facing Europe is mild on average today but with large
differences between member states and that the Eurozone GDP is projected to contract by % 0.3 and
return to growth next year. HE Mrs. Quintavalle also said that some European Union member countries’
[economies] are growing and that price stability, a condition for economic and political stability, has
been maintained. HE Mrs. Quintavalle mentioned that structural reforms remain the main lever at
[Europe’s] disposal, and their effects are not immediate, nor can they be but will be effective over time
and create jobs in due course.
HE Mrs. Quintavalle addressed the question of which kind of responses were given to the crisis by
European countries, saying that at the national level some brave decisions have been taken across
Europe in the financial world, the energy sector, labor market and that the social effects need to be
watched. Furthermore, HE Mrs. Quintavalle stated that some financial packages were launched to
help ailing countries specifically Portugal, Ireland and Greece, and that EU treatise have been modified
to introduce the European Stability Mechanism which was signed on February 2 nd by the Eurozone
HE Mrs. Quintavalle also said that there was a new initiative taken by the European Union called Europe
2020, which she said has been adopted as Europe’s strategy for growth and jobs and which sets five
specific goals: first for employment, second for innovation and research and development, third for
climate change and energy, and fourth for education and fifth for poverty and social exclusion. HE
Mrs Quintavalle said that this enumeration of objectives shows to which extent the crisis has pushed
European governments to take unprecedented steps in order to reinforce stability and increase
economic coordination to an extent unimaginable three years ago. HE Mrs. Quintavalle followed by
saying that despite these measures being taken that the crisis still existed and that for some countries it
represents a real, crucial threat.
HE Mrs. Quintavalle, also mentioned the economic situation in Italy by saying that despite high public
debt, Italy still displays some positive economic data, with low household debt and no housing market
bubble and a fundamentally sound banking system and no major external imbalances.
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