Populism and Economic Policy: EEAG Report Event 2017

Watch the summary video of the EEAG Report 2017: Populism and Economic Policy, hosted by the Swiss Re Institute.

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As an international active insurer and reinsurer, where the business model depends crucially on international diversification, development in the regulatory sphere or regarding monetary or fiscal policy, as well as international trade or capital controls, is of adamant importance. Hence, we welcome very much this opportunity to discuss the leading experts on these topics, the implications of the developments.

2017 is the year of elections. Many people are looking, in particular, to the French elections, because although a populist victory in Poland or in Hungary is in some ways a challenge to Europe, a populist victory in France, the victory of Madame Le Pen's from National, would be an existential crisis, an existential threat to the European Union.

The election results of the Netherlands give us hope that indeed, there are ways in which we can make society understand what's at stake, that there are pros and cons. We are learning, as a society, how to bring this better across. Thereby, also taking to account what these populist members have to say. Because of course, there is always a situation of truth in there. There is an element of truth in the empty statements.

Many people are somehow bothered by what's going on in the world and simplifications are always easy to grasp. There, of course, are fears like immigration or refugees, all this kind of stuff. Economy is in a very uncertain state. Then, of course, we also have the aspect of terrorism. This altogether gives a background and a ground to foster populist feelings.

We've had several experiences of populism in the past before the First World War, but also above all in Europe in the 1930s. The lesson of European populism in the 1930s are really very, very depressing. The simple lesson is don't go that route.

It's more and more important to have events like this to discuss matters. One of the problems is, unfortunately, that if we look at the audiences, normally they always agree with us. We are in our own circles, and actually, we should open that to other people who disagree with us, who maybe even live under a kind of threat or seduction of populism, so to get together and discuss the topics.