A session summary from the 2012 Caesarea Economic Policy Planning Forum
On the first evening of the 20th Caesarea Economic Policy Planning Forum, which was called the Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society in 2012, participants attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the Masada–Dead Sea Research Institute, which will be dedicated to the exploration of extreme climate issues. In attendance were Minister of Finance Dr. Yuval Steinitz, Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, and Mr. Dov Litvinoff, Mayor of the Tamar Regional Council. Following the ceremony, participants were treated to an international panel of Bank Governors, moderated by Prof. Stanley Fischer, Governor of the Bank of Israel. Highlights of the session can be found below.
Prof. Stanley Fisher, Governor of the Bank of Israel, moderated the international panel of Bank Governors at the 20th Caesarea Economic Forum, which was dedicated to a discussion of the European financial crisis and its implications for the Israeli economy. Joining him in conversation were Mr. Erkki Liikanen, Governor of the Bank of Finland, and Mr. Mar Guðmundsson, Governor of the Bank of Iceland.
The three bank governors candidly discussed the financial situation in each of their countries as well as the wider European debt crisis. The discussion centered on how Finland has handled the situation from within the euro zone, and how Iceland has handled it from without. Significantly, Mr. Guðmundsson, head of the central bank of Iceland, backed the creation of a banking union in the European Union and asserted that Iceland's financial crisis in October 2008, in which three banks collapsed, would have been less severe had supervision and deposit insurance been shared. A transcript of Mr. Guðmundsson's words at the conference can be found here. Following the discussion, conference participants engaged in a lively question and answer session with the panelists.
Appointed in 2004, Erkii Liikanen is the Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Finland. He is also a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank, Governor of the International Monetary Fund for Finland, and President of the Finnish Red Cross. Mr. Liikananen received an M.A. degree in Political Science (Economics) from the University of Helsinki in 1975, and subsequently received Honorary Doctorates from the Helsinki University of Technology and the Aalto University School of Economics. He was elected to the Finnish Parliament In 1972, at the age of 21, and served in it until 1990, when he became the first Finnish Ambassador to the European Union. He was selected to be the first Finnish member of the European Commission in 1994.
Mar Guðmundsson was appointed as Governor of the Bank of Iceland in 2009. He holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Essex, studied economics and mathematics at the University of Gothenburg, and was awarded an MPhil degree in economics from Cambridge University. Mr. Guðmundsson has served as Deputy Head of the Monetary and Economic Department of the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, since 2004. Prior to that, he was the economic advisor to the Minister of Finance of Iceland from 1988–1991 and spent over ten years as Chief Economist for the Central Bank of Iceland. Mr. Guðmundsson has written numerous articles on monetary and exchange rate affairs and related topics, and is a leading promoter of the Central Bank's monetary policy strategy adopted in 2001. He has also played a significant role in mapping a recovery route for the economy of Iceland in the wake of the recent economic and financial crisis.