Governor of Bank of France on the challenges of multilateral economic order

On December 4, Governor François Villeroy de Galhau of the Bank of France visited Waseda University and spoke about the challenges of multilateral economic order, specifically on the European model and response to the current international and European situations under various circumstances such as free trade, common markets, increasing tendency of protectionism and separatism. This talk was organized by Waseda University (International Office, the TGU Center for Positive/Empirical Analysis of Political Economy, Waseda Institute of Political Economy and the Faculty of Political Science and Economics) and the Bank of France, with the support of the Embassy of France.

Historically, Waseda University has conducted education and research on France. President Kamata, who attended the lecture, explained that France was recently designated as one of the University’s most important partner countries, and Waseda has led the Japan-France educational and research exchange, including student and faculty exchange, as well as collaborative research. He commented that, “The Governor’s lecture focusing on how Europe, progressing with its unification and evolution, is facing complex and tough challenges will surely be beneficial for students gathered here today who will be future leaders in the world.”

Governor Villeroy de Galhau, who advocates for strengthening the European economic alliance, argued that there is a need for active multilateralism in order to face global challenges of today. “International cooperation between countries is more important than ever. We Europeans and Japanese, together with other countries, must defend international economic relations based on commonly respected rules and multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Multilateral Development Bank (MDB). If they deteriorate, it would dampen world trade and economic activity,” he said. Furthermore, the Governor stated that the global economic recovery has been gathering pace since 2016, but financial stability and protectionism, namely a tendency in the United States at the moment, are two major risks that threaten growth. “Protectionism is not an answer to rising inequalities and poverty but exactly on the contrary.”

At the end of the lecture, Governor Villeroy de Galhau quoted lines from “Remains of the Day,” a novel written by this year’s winner for the Nobel Prize in Literature and Japanese born author, Kazuo Ishiguro, to emphasize the importance of making progress towards a better functioning economic union rather than accepting the current European economy and the monetary union as its final form. He said he believes that, “We could achieve something that yesterday and even today may still be considered unbelievable.”

More than 530 students, faculty, staff and members of the general public attended the event, and the audience had an opportunity to ask  Governor Villeroy de Galhau questions directly in an engaging Q&A session.

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