Young, European and Free: The Bocconi Project

Nowadays, the European Union needs the adequate tools to spread information and raise awareness in order to defeat the lack of trust among European citizens.

Such is the aim of a new promising project called “Europeans”. Promoted by the Bocconi University professor Lorenzo Cuocolo, in collaboration with the Fondazione Achille e Giulia Boroli, the project duration is three years. Its purpose is to promote a constructive debate about EU, involving Bocconi University students. Each time a different theme will be chosen and this year the topic has been “The European Banking Union”.

During the first Annual Conference, held at Bocconi on April 18th, lots of important personalities discussed about the importance of a Banking Union. Andrea Sironi, Bocconi rector, said that the idea could be a bit too technical, too far away from people’s current life, but highlighted that it actually has a very strong impact on real economy. Therefore, people should be informed in order to approach this issue in an easier manner.

The majority of the economists agree that a European Banking integration would have positive results. However, Mr. Bini Smaghi, Chairman of Société Général and Chairman of Snam , outlined that this process  arises a surprising dilemma: on one hand, the most recent regulation (the realization of the Single Supervisory Mechanism, and the project of the Single Resolution Mechanism and the Single Resolution Fund) has brought an overall stability of the system; on the other hand,  it has led to a nationalization of the banking system, which means that, European states tend to develop their own plan to help domestic banks (e.g. Italian “Fondo Atlante” plan). Moreover, in a scenario where European banks try their best to avoid default, they cut out riskier activities and lose against U.S. banks in terms of competitiveness.

Mr. Bini Smaghi concluded that, in order to renew trust into the banking system, Italy has a big responsibility: reduce its country-risk. In fact, the dichotomy between countries that want to share risks (e.g. Greece, Spain) and those that ask for a lower public debt before granting support (e.g. Germany) is slowing down the whole integration process.

During the event, Miss Maria Chiara De Biasio, law graduate student, was awarded for the best paper on Banking Union theme. That shows the close link between the project “Europeans” and the young generation, in particular, Bocconi students.

Last but not least, Mr. Mario Monti, President of Bocconi University, was interviewed. Firstly he introduced his “growth recipe” (as he ironically called it), then he spoke about austerity measures and he also shared his opinion on Brexit. Most specifically, he reminded that cultural aspects are a key-element to add value to the European Project.

“Europeans” has brought together outstanding characters: they believe in Europe’s potential as did their past forerunners, Ferdinando Bocconi and Achille Boroli. Today, young people should keep questioning themselves on what international cooperation means and how it could change their lives. In this manner, next year the project’s topic will be about the European welfare system and social rights. Thanks to these initiatives it is possible to build up a stronger union that will share not only a monetary policy but also values such as tradition, culture and most of all, trust.  



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